Harassment Online is Not Going Anywhere

Getting harassed in the online world is not extraordinary. It is quite common. This should not really be news to anyone who has spent any time on social media or other online platforms. However, it turns out the majority of this behavior is committed through video games. To put into perspective of how prevalent this really is. The Anti-Defamation Leauge conducted a study and found that a staggering 74% of video game playing adults have experienced online harassment.

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The study surveyed a large sample group of 1,000 people. The purpose of this report was to “explores the social interactions and experiences” of gamers. The study was only conducted in America. But it is unlikely that the numbers would change very much if conducted elsewhere. And of course, since the games are online, it is hard to really pinpoint which areas are the worst for online harassment.

The study included specific games to monitor as well.  Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, League of Legends, World of Warcraft and Minecraft were some of the games looked at. Games that have a reputation for being more laid back had fewer instances of reported harassment. World of Warcraft and Minecraft players reported that they had positive experiences at 59% and 55%.

However, games that are highly competitive like Counter-Strike or Dota 2, had a much higher rate of online harassment. In games like those, the rate of some form of harassment taking place was 75%. This could, of course, be attributed to the hyper-competitive culture that comes with these games. The chances of you getting yelled at or insulted are much lower if you play Minecraft rather than Call of Duty.


Why Are People Harassed? 

The study went into further detail of why or what people were harassed over. 65% of players claimed that they had experienced severe forms of harassment like physical threats and stalking. Another 53% of players felt that they were the target of online harassment due to their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or ability.

The ADL has said that the impact of this sort of behavior can be detrimental to some people. A large number of people polled said that they felt less sociable or more isolated after being attacked online. Some even saying they felt depressed or had suicidal thoughts.

The ADL concludes this study by calling for the video game industry and even governments to take action. The ADL suggests that new ways of monitoring online actions should be implemented in order to shield gamers from this sort of damaging behavior.

This study does not say outright that the video game industry is failing its clientele. But it might as well. There have been certain games to use very strict policies when it comes to interacting with other players. And If this sort of thing remains a problem. Then we should expect to see more censorship. No companies have commented yet on the study. But there must be a lot of pressure.


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