Friday, September 12, 2014

Fun and Games, Not Really

By David Simms, Senior Contributor

Aside from social media, there is a large online population engaging in online games. Typically users have the option to communicate via instant message or other, while playing the game.  Although this has not gotten the higher profile attention that cyberbullying has, online gaming has become a cesspool of harassment that should be brought to the focus. Online gaming is a worldwide activity and another conduit for cyber harassment. While it has historically been a male dominated pastime, women now make up a large part of the gaming community. As a result, there have been increasing numbers of reports by women claiming to be sexually harassed on these sites. Competition tends to bring out aggression in people as they are engaged in striving to outperform others. This can lead to extremely insulting and offensive language aimed at other players, including both men and women. Most of the time it is limited to communications concerning the game being played at the time, but interactions can easily escalate to the point of criminal cyber attacks outside the context of the game. 

It is believed that the gaming industry attracts certain types of personalities that have a propensity toward competitive and nasty behaviours.  Because of the global networking in the gaming industry, the pool of participants with these personalities is greatly increased.  As a result of gaming wars and the exceptionally wide population of users, the aggression has spilled over into the real world where people have been threatened and physically attacked.

I'd say that brings new meaning to the words use at your own risk.