Social Media can be a very fun place for people. You can chat with your friends, meet people from around the world, and the best part about it is that you virtually have limitless access to any information in the world and you can literally access it from the palm of your hand. While that’s all well and good, unfortunately, one of the things that can follow you is bullies, specifically cyber bullies.
Cyberbullying is a very really threat and it has affected so many people that some victims end up taking their own lives. Something that is rarely ever talked about is cyberbullying through online gaming. The development of online gaming for today’s generation is becoming similar to social media networks, and with the similarities, there is also the similar problems that follow.
A lot of people think that with online gaming, you can possibly be bullied. Gamers have their own usernames and there is no identifying marks that can lead to their real identities being found out, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. According to Nobullying.com, children between the ages 8 and 11, over 21 percent of them have been bullied online, and 27 percent of it came from online gaming.
“Online games have become widely used by children of all ages. While children have been using computer games ever since desktop computers became a common item found in homes and schools, the use of the Internet for gaming has increased in recent years. With all the websites that offer the opportunity to play with people from around the world, every child can find something that appeals to their interests. Every time your child is exposed to other children online, though, the risk of Bullying in Online Games increases as well.”
There are a few terms that can be thrown around that are synonymous with online gaming bullying, which are “trolling”, “griefers”, and “Swatting”. The first term is widely compared with being funny and messing with people online, and most of the time, it is harmless and some people do recognize it as a joke, but there are some times where things can go way too far, and it goes beyond just jokes.
Nobullying.com best explains what the second term, “griefer” means:
“Griefers” is the term given to those who make use of online games as a way to target children and sometimes even adults while they are taking part in online gaming. These players will purposely seek out other gamers and target them in the game. Not only will they attack these players as part of the game, they will also engage in aggressive behavior outside the parameters of the game, including sending threatening or harassing messages. Some of these griefers will use the excuse of simply “playing the game,” while really using the game as a way to cyber bully other players. The goal of these griefers is to make the gaming experience miserable for the other gamers, ruining the hard work they have put into the game.”
Swatting is fairly new among the three terms, and is an real-life action that online gamers use to mess with other people online. The term means that one online player calls the police and reports a terrorist attack being planned at the house of whoever they are playing with online. The resulting actions are entire SWAT teams breaking in and ransacking the house, all while the gamers are playing online.
One of the biggest controversies to come from online gaming bullying came in the form of Gamergate, a online social media harassment campaign, revolving around sexism and progressivism in game culture. The campaign targeted several women in the gaming industry including game developers Zoë Quinn and Brianna Wu and also cultural critic Anita Sarkeensian. The campaign made huge headlines back in August 2014, and all started with a former boyfriend of Quinn posted a blog post about her, and then others soon followed, making large amounts a death threats and assault.
You could argue that Gamergate is more of social media bullying but it is heavily focused within the gaming community, and is one of the most recent large scale bullying incidents.
Online gaming is meant to fun, where people can come together and play games and just enjoy themselves, but there are those people on the Internet who love nothing more than to just attack people that they never even meant, and make their lives so difficult. Bullying is a horrible thing to do, and Cyberbullying is a new front and the sad part about it that there is no real way to stop it. Sure, people can ignore the comments, the direct messages, and go on to enjoy their gaming, but what about the cases where this is a constant thing. We have seen cases where people are bullied relentlessly on their social media accounts, and the way that technology has been going, it is honestly no surprise that there is an increase in cyberbullying in online gaming.