Cyberbullying: the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
Cyberbullying has become such an incredible phenomenon that is progressively spreading throughout many different platforms, especially through online and multiplayer gaming. Once on the internet, teenagers are exposed to all types of risks, including cyberbullying, identity theft, invasion of privacy, adult language and explicit content, and predators who could lurk behind a fake profile on social media or a gaming community. It’s common for bullies to flock to cyberspace and online video games to harass others as it is convenient for them.
However, bullying through online gaming can be more than just people who play video games for the sheer “satisfaction” of harassing other players; it can also be reflected through online hackers, viruses, and trolling. Anonymity of players and the use of avatars allow users to create alter-egos or fictional versions of themselves, which is part of the fun of gaming. But it also allows users to harass, bully, and sometimes gang up on other players, sending or posting negative or hurtful messages and using the game as a tool of harassment. If someone is not performing well, other children may curse or make negative remarks that turn into bullying, or they might exclude the person from playing together. Because players are anonymous, they cannot necessarily be held accountable for their behaviour, and their harassment can cause some players to leave games. Some anonymous users use the game as a means to harass strangers or to get their personal information, like user names and passwords.
Approximately 34% of students report experiencing cyberbullying during their lifetime, and over 60% of students who experience cyberbullying reported that it immensely impacted their ability to learn and feel safe while at school. 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online, and over 90% believe it’s a major problem for people their age. About 43% of teens aged 13-17 have reported an experience where they were cyber-bullied. But for video game players, that percentage could be significantly higher. In fact, 63% of female gamers have been sexually harassed (in digital environments), such as being asked to perform “virtual sex behaviours” in return for in-game currencies.
Throughout this Digital Artefact, I aim to explore deeper into why gamers spread bullying through an entertainment based luxury like gaming, how it affects the player receiving the negative criticism, and what gaming brands and communities are doing to resolve or minimise the issue. Inside the digital world, Microsoft have already made reputation levels in hoping to punish bad behaviour. Whereas outside of the digital world, Primary schools across Australia have begun sending letters about the video game Fortnite to parents, warning of its “negative effects” on students. Shellharbour public school in NSW told parents: “The ability to communicate online whilst playing these games is leading to moments of online bullying, the use of inappropriate language and abuse.”
For my Digital Artefact, I will be discussing these issues in the form of a 2 or 3 part podcast, that will be uploaded to either Soundcloud or Spotify.
Within one of the podcasts, I will discussing a part of the topic with a person I know who has been on the receiving side of bullying through online and multiplayer gaming, where I will be able to gather first-hand information, some of which will be in the form of a discussion, other in which it will be in an interview-like style. This would then allow me to connect with listeners who have experienced the same thing, as well as understanding it on a deeper, more personal level.
After the first podcast has been recorded and released, I will be engaging with my audience by posting a survey online, through FaceBook and Instagram, about topics relevant to the podcast. This would not only provide engagement, but rather feedback and data as well. In addition to that, I will be posting a few subreddits to engage with a different audience on another large-scale media platform.
Thank you, I’m looking forward to your feedback!
~ Kiana Paige ~
Cyberbullying: what is it and how to get help
Cyberbullying Within Online and Multiplayer Gaming