New report points to an increase in harassment within online games


Although it has been shown that video game have positive effects, severe cases of toxic behavior have been reported throughout the year. Now, a recent investigation by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in collaboration with the analysis firm Newzoo, has reported an increase in cases of harassment and attacks on online titles.

The report mentions that this investigation was carried out last July, where a thousand players from the United States, between the ages of 18 and 45, were questioned about their online experiences between January and June 2020. Although 95% mentioned having some kind of positive experience, like finding some kind of community or making a new friend, 81% of the players claim to have suffered some type of harassment during this period.

In comparison, in 2019, 74% of people suffered from some type of insult, threat or discrimination. 68% of US players surveyed say they have been victims of severe bullying, an increase from 65% the previous year. Here, 51% of people speak of threats of physical violence, 53% of discrimination, and 41% of sexual harassment.

Regarding extreme cases, 13% of people claim to have been victims of doxing (publication of private personal data), and 12% of swating (sending the police to a house under a false threat). 80% of those surveyed report having suffered from a threat in games like DOTA 2 and Valorant. On the other hand, Animal Crossing: New Horizons ranked bottom with only 36% of people reporting this type of behavior.

Regarding the results of these actions, 21% of those surveyed state that they feel uncomfortable when playing, while 11% reported having depressive thoughts or suicidal tendencies as a result of the bullying. 9% mentioned having contacted the police about any of these cases, and 22% have directly stopped playing certain titles due to these behaviors.

The Anti-Defamation League has also asked developers implement some type of measure to reduce this type of behavior in their games, as well as reviewing your own internal work conduct. On the other side of the coin, a new report notes that video games are actually good for your health.