- The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday released a new study about online gaming.
- It shows that the majority of people who play games online experience at least some form of harassment, with about two-thirds of people surveyed saying it’s “severe.”
- People also reported harassment that was based on their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religious identity.
- We’ve also outlined how to handle abuse on these gaming platforms.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A new study from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says that 65% of people have experienced “severe harassment” when playing video games online.
“Severe harassment,” according to the ADL, includes “physical threats, stalking, and sustained harassment.”
The study also says that 74% of people have experienced at least some form of harassment when playing games online.
ADL’s study, which was performed in collaboration with data-analytics firm Newzoo, surveyed 1,045 respondents from people aged 18 to 45 years old. ADL conducted these surveys between April 19 and May 1 of this year.
The study revealed that:
- 53% of people who reported experiencing harassment said they were targeted for their "race, religion, ability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ethnicity."
- 38% of women surveyed said they were harassed on the basis of their gender.
- 35% of people surveyed who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer said they were harassed on the basis of their sexual orientation.
- 31% of people surveyed who identify as black or African American said they were harassed because of their race.
- 29% of people surveyed said they were doxed while playing games online. "Doxing" is when someone broadcasts personal identifying information about someone - like their real name, address, phone number, and more.
- 24% of people surveyed who identify as Hispanic/Latinx said they were harassed because of their race.
- 23% of people surveyed who identify as Asian or Asian American experienced harassment on the basis of their race.
- 19% of people surveyed who identify as Jewish or Muslim said they were harassed because of their religion.
- 23% of people surveyed said they were exposed to "extremist ideologies and hateful propaganda," like discussions about white supremacy.
- 8% of people surveyed said people who they were playing with were sympathetic towards ISIS, or the Islamic State.
- 9% of people surveyed said they were "exposed to discussions about Holocaust denial."
To be fair, 88% of people surveyed said they've also experienced positive social interaction when they've played video games online, with 51% saying in the survey that they've made friends. So it's not all bad news for gamers.
What can be done?
Several large tech and gaming companies that maintain internet services offer ways for victims to report harassment and digital abuse. But most, if not all, of these services still rely on people submitting reports about their harassment.
In May, Microsoft introduced a new set of "Community Standards" for Xbox users, outlining what sorts of behavior are acceptable and unacceptable. "Lighthearted banter or bragging" is okay, but once it gets personal, or starts to include racial slurs or physical threats, that's crossing the line.
Microsoft's Xbox support site has a guide to filing a complaint on the Xbox One, where you can report players, messages they've sent you, and more.
Similarly, Sony has an online guide to blocking players on the PlayStation 4 if they're being inappropriate or abusive.
Steam, the largest digital storefront for PC gamers, also offers up several options to address online abuse and threats.
If you're ever wondering what to do about online harassment that may occur outside of these gaming platforms, Vice and Buzzfeed have put together excellent guides on how to handle online harassment, and what you should do when it happens.