The online games market is booming, with more of us seeking entertainment in virtual worlds than ever. However, while many choose multiplayer titles to have a fun social gaming experience, there are also more sinister goings on. Rather than offering a form of escapism, these online communities can be a hub for bullying and hateful abuse.
Most will be aware that bullying can occur online, but the scale to which this has been happening within the gaming community was unknown, until now. A new study by anti-bullying charity, Ditch the Label has found that one in two online gamers have experienced abuse when playing multiplayer video games.
The survey was conducted via hotel creation game, Habbo. The PC title is branded as a social experience allowing users to “make friends and chat with millions”. However of 2,500+ gamers who were questioned, over half had experienced abuse, with some even encountering death threats or hacking.
Participants were aged 12-25 and were evenly split between male and female gamers.
Noteworthy responses included how someone’s personal details were shared on a social network following an individual taking a dislike to them. As a consequence, the victim received abuse from others as well as the original perpetrator, with moderators doing little to protect the player or to ban those harassing them.
In all, sharing of personal information online was reported by more than a third of those surveyed. Others were bullied based on their skill level, with some quitting the game altogether to escape harassment.
Furthermore, 74% felt that it needed to be taken more seriously to protect online gamers, with over half believing extra moderation could be a solution to prevent trolling and bullying in the game.
offers support and advice for those that have experienced bullying, both online and offline. Their website offers a series of guides and tips for anyone that requires it.