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advice

What’s in a name?

Your online nickname will help define fellow players’ initial impressions of you and maybe how they interact with you.

Some time ago I started adding people to my friends list who were from Saudi Arabia. I had no idea why but these chaps seemed to warm to me and were great to have a laugh with. While chatting with one of them he was surprised I wasn’t from Saudi too as my player name was the word they use for a little boys penis… I changed my name a short while after.

It’s worth noting that pretty much all online games and games platforms allow you to change your nickname so don’t stress about getting that perfect name…

Here’s a few things to think about when creating an online name for your child:

Avoid anything that may hint at your age, gender, beliefs or sexuality

It is good practice to avoid giving away anything about you as a person. Doing so will avoid others being able to direct unwanted attention to a particular aspect of you as a person. This will also avoid unwanted attention from those looking to interact with certain sexes or age groups.

Avoid anything contentious or related to current trends

Trying to get people to react to your username has been done to death. Current trends also are just as they are, current, and will change like the wind.

Don’t use glyphs (characters/ fonts that look like images)

The overuse of glyphs is usually associated with younger players so it’s good practice not to use them. Also, if someone wants to message you or seek you out to talk to you then these will make it difficult.

Keep punctuation to a minimum

For the same reasons as glyphs, punctuation should be carefully considered if used. Try to keep it limited to hyphens and underscores if you have to use anything at all.

If in doubt go generic or obscure

Early on in your child’s game playing just keep their names generic. As they play with others they might get some ideas for a good name or maybe the way they play might affect their name decision.

Nickname creators

A quick search and you’ll find a few. Be aware that some will ask you to enter your name and, sometimes, other details. This is for the purpose of collecting your personal information. You don’t need to share your information to generate a name… just enter some false information and you’ll find that many of the suggestions are not related to the details you entered. (I’ve not linked to any as I’m not confident in any I’ve found so far).

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