Consultation For Your Reputation

Harassment in Online Gaming and What You Can Do About It

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Cyberbullying |

Online gaming is a popular and enjoyable hobby for many. However, the pastime does not come without its risks—especially when it comes to harassment. According to a 2023 survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 75% of online gamers reported being exposed to online hate or harassment last year. Since only 67% of gamers reported the same thing in the previous year, this means that hate and harassment in the online gaming space are unfortunately on the rise.

Because online games are often multi-player, this can put certain individuals at risk for harassment from other players. According to ADL survey results, the games where adults experienced the most harassment last year were Dota 2, Call of Duty, and Valorant. For young people, it was League of Legends, PUBG, and Call of Duty.

Identity-Based Harassment

Much of the harassment that takes place in the online gaming space appears to be identity-based, with young people ages 10-17 often being targeted, as well as those who identify as a minority race. Female gamers appear to experience a more significant amount of harassment as well. Likewise, 70% of Jewish adults report experiencing some form of online harassment in multiplayer games as well.

Players reported being exposed to white supremacy-related harassment in Call of Duty, Overwatch 2, and Counterstrike: Global Offensive. It’s unclear, however, if it is the nature of these games or simply their popularity which puts minority players at higher risk for being harassed while playing them.

Unfortunately, harassment in online gaming has become so pervasive that many people consider it the norm and may even become desensitized to it. However, this type of harassment is not acceptable and should never be seen as such.

What can be done to stop Gaming harassment?

The ADL has a number of recommendations to counteract hate and harassment in the online gaming space. Some of these recommendations include:

    • Implementing industry-wide policy and practices to better address white supremacy
    • Improving reporting systems and support for individuals who’ve been targeted
    • Strengthening content-moderation tools for in-game voice chat
    • Releasing regular and consistent transparency reports on hate and harassment
    • Submitting to regularly scheduled independent audits
    • Including metrics on online safety in the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s rating system of games

These recommendations rely on the gaming industry to implement changes, which may or may not happen. In the mean time, what can individuals do if they find themselves the target of hate or harassment in online gaming? Fortunately, there are legal avenues which can be sought in order to deal with online harassers.

Legal Help for Gaming Harassment

Most states have laws in place which address cyberbullying or online harassment. For example, in the state of Texas and depending on the nature and extent of the harassment, it could be considered anywhere from a Class A Misdemeanor up to a 3rd Degree Felony offense. This means that, if found guilty, the harasser may be fined thousands of dollars and receive anywhere between 1-10 years in prison.

Seeking legal advice from an attorney experienced in dealing with online defamation and harassment is your best option. An attorney who is well-versed in this area of the legal system can help you not only put a stop to the harassment, but also seek damages for emotional distress and/or other repercussions that have occurred a result of the harassment.