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.   

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Thank you, I’m looking forward to your feedback!

~ Kiana Paige ~




Cyberbullying: what is it and how to get help


Cyberbullying Statistics


Cyberbullying Within Online and Multiplayer Gaming





  1. Kiana Paige · August 16

    Reblogged this on Game Cultures and commented:

    GOING AFK! BCM215 Pitch – Is cyberbullying and online harassment prevalent throughout online gaming?


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  3. Hey, Honey! · August 21

    I love your use and explanation of the graph in your post to illustrate the magnitude of the issue you’re investigating, as it illustrates you are adequately informed on the real life and online tendencies and behavioural commonalities of cyberbullies. However, it would have been ideal to cite your sources, providing insight on where the graph and statistics came from, as well as the quote from Shellharbour public school you provided (a link to an article, interview, etc). Otherwise It seems like you have a clear trajectory on where you want to take your project, and the ways you will re-iterate and receive feedback. Again, your artefact would greatly benefit from the inclusion of more sources to credit your information to (both academic and non-academic). ‘Causes of cyberbullying in multi-player online gaming environments’ by Cotler et al. (2016) explores the relationship between cyberbullying and multiplayer online environments, and what causes this hostility in particular.
    I’d also take a look at Anti-Defamation League’s ‘Free to Play? Hate, Harrassment, and Positive Social Experiences in Online Games’ (2019). Its a non-academic, but nevertheless extensive source, as it examines harassment in comparison to positive social experiences in an online gaming context. Awesome idea, and can’t wait to see it come to life!

    Anti-Defamation League. (2019). Free to Play? Hate, Harassment, and Positive Social Experiences in Online Games. [online] Available at: https://www.adl.org/free-to-play

    Cotler, J., Fryling, M. and Rivituso, J. (2016). Causes of cyberbullying in multi-player online gaming environments: Gamer perceptions. [online] Available at: http://proc.conisar.org/2016/pdf/4258.pdf


  4. TammyBlog · August 21

    Hey Kiana,

    Firstly, I highly commend you for taking on quite an emotionally demanding topic.

    The Digital Artefact you’re working on for Game Media seems great as the DA revolves around a worldwide issue which is cyberbullying; and following the less publicised and more unknown aspect of the issue.

    You have a clear understanding of what direction you intend to head with your podcast, particularly with the content for each one. You mention that in one of the podcasts, you will be discussing the issue with someone who has been on the receiving side of bullying through online and multiplayer gaming. From this you will be able to connect with your listeners as you mentioned, I believe that a potential idea to gain more understanding from victims of cyberbullying in gaming is to create an online anonymous survey post interview. Where by if people feel comfortable they can share their stories with you anonymously in order to gain awareness of the issue at hand, as i believe that is one of the most important aspects of your DA.

    Furthermore, you have a great opportunity to inform gamers and non gamers about not only the consequences of online harassment and bullying but as well as what is being done, what can be done and more importantly where you can go for help. You may have already decided to do this, but these aspects in particular could be beneficial to talk about in different segments of your podcasts?

    Your DA has the potential to make a serious impact on the actions of bullies, both online and in reality. Your decision to post these to subreddits will be extremely valuable for not only awareness but for feedback as well.

    I came across this article which I thought you may find quite beneficial into understanding cyberbullying in video games. The article explores the social interactions and experiences of gamers across America and detailing different attitudes and behaviours conveyed within the online environment.

    Overall, your pitch provided a thorough understanding of what and how you’re going to approach your DA. Due to the topic being quite wide spread, to understand the topic further it may be beneficial to include the links to the research and articles you utilise in your future podcasts for the listeners further reading and insight.

    Great work and looking forward to listening to the podcasts!


  5. TammyBlog · August 21

    Hey Kiana,

    Unfortunately Im unable to comment the link to the article. hope this way works!

    The article is called:

    Free to Play? Hate, Harassment, and Positive Social Experiences in Online Games



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  7. jmayfarrington · August 23

    Hi Kiana. I think this is an excellent topic to cover when it comes to the game media industry. I myself, and as you said probably all gamers, have experienced toxic behaviours and attitudes when playing online multiplayer games. This DA will have a great social utility for tackling this issue in the gaming community.

    Your video is concise, well-spoken, and within the time limit given. You managed to cover most of the criteria in the 2 minutes and were successful in keeping it detailed but also abridged and to-the-point. The concept was clear and communicated effectively. I think that your chosen method of a podcast is suitable for the topic of cyber-bullying and toxicity in gaming because it seems like something that would lend itself to in-depth discussion. The social utility of this DA was expressed through your proposed discussion points (why it happens, how it affects players, what companies are doing to prevent the behaviour). These tell me that the stakeholders who will benefit from your podcast will be gamers or players experiencing cyber-bullying, and most of all the companies and communities trying to moderate the bullying. Your ideas for constructing a feedback loop are clearly outlined too. Although you did share some statistics, I think you could’ve very briefly touched upon your research plan or potential sources in your video. But, you did include these in your blog post, so that’s alright.

    Your blog post is formatted nicely and easy to read, with lots of helpful images to break up the text. I found that it was mostly repeating what you’d already addressed in the pitch video, though there was some new information that expanded upon your ideas. My one criticism for your blog post is that there is a particular section where you use a lot of statistics in one short paragraph. Statistics are great to include, but I found it difficult to take in all the numbers and the implications behind the statistics shown because they were all in proximity. I’d suggest spreading them out across your blog post, or re-wording some so that it isn’t an overload of numbers (ie; instead of writing “60% of these people say…”, you can write, “over half of these people say…”). Otherwise the blog post has no spelling or grammar errors, really pleasant aesthetics, and formatting that is not too sparse or too busy.

    Here are a couple potential sources to share with you;
    This article here by Brendan Maher talks about how video game companies deal with toxic players and behaviours in games with the intent of reducing cyber-bullying on their platform, which is something you mentioned in your pitch as a discussion point for the podcast. It uses Riot Games as an example/case study, particularly the changes they made to their player punishment system back in 2016. I actually play this game and I remember when the changes were implemented; they focused on introducing a zero-tolerance policy for racist, sexist, and homophobic insults, which currently result in a 2 week account ban, followed by a lifetime account ban if the offense is repeated.
    This scholarly article by Teemu Saarinen broadly examines toxic behaviours in gaming, so there’s lots of potentially useful information for you. It focuses on some points you mentioned in your pitch; the impact of toxicity on the players, and cases of cyber-bullying through online games. The two games it mainly explores are CS:GO and DOTA2, which are some other popular multiplayer games you might want to consider in addition to the examples from your pitch (MineCraft, Fortnite etc.)

    That’s all from me, and overall excellent pitch. I think this is a very important topic to discuss so I appreciate the thought behind the social utility of your DA.


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