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Study reveals increased harassment and hostility in online games

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The recent era of videogames has been marked by the rise of online experiences, which have become a very important component given the demands of the community, who seek more options than the traditional ones for their gaming experience. Sadly, this also has a dark side, that of toxicity, and a recent study revealed that online gambling bullying is on the rise.

The ADL Center for Technology and Society and the esports and video game analysis firm Newzoo joined forces to conduct a study of the online experience of video games, the results of which were published in the Free to Play? Hate, Harassment and Positive Social Experience in Online Games 2020. To carry out this study, a questionnaire was applied to a sample of 1009 players from the United States between 18 and 45 years old, who stated that they played daily on console, PC or mobile .

Initially, the study yielded encouraging results regarding the experience of social integration that is possible thanks to online gaming, as 95% of those interviewed stated that they had had a positive experience. Likewise, 86% revealed that they received help from other players to join the game; 83% made friends, and the same percentage indicated that thanks to this type of experience they feel part of a community.

Hostility and harassment in gaming are on the rise

However, the other side of the coin had to do with harassment in online gaming, which has shown an increase in accordance with the results of the same study carried out in 2019. In this sense, 81% of those interviewed said they had suffered of some form of harassment while playing, a figure that exceeds 74% last year. Additionally, 68% of gamers reported experiencing more severe forms of harassment, including threats, spying, and systematic attacks. According to the representative sample, this would mean that more than 45 million gamers suffer from attacks in the online environment of some video games.

DOTA 2 is the most toxic and hostile game out there, based on the results

In this regard, the results of the study showed that the games and online experiences that present the most harassment are DOTA 2 with 80%; Valorant with 80%; Rocket League with 76%; Grand Theft Auto Online with 76%; any recent installment of Call of Duty at 75% and Counter Strike: Global Offensive at 75%. In fact, it is the second year that Valve’s MOBA repeats in the first position.

Finally, the study suggests actions by 3 orders, the video game companies, who are asked to pay more attention and allocate more resources to combat toxicity, including improvements in the tools to report these cases. Civil society, to those who request greater dissemination of their studies and analysis regarding toxicity in gaming and its effects. Finally, the study calls for greater participation by governments to pay attention to those cases in which harassment has to do with racial motives or is focused on a specific group.

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