Friday, 31 January 2014

Gaming and Bullying. (Rant)

I am going to be straight up honest right now, this post is not a post, this is a full on rant about a few things that I have noticed concerning gaming and online bullying.

Let me take you back....about 13/14 years ago, to the year 2000. Counter Strike was released on steam, which was also still in its beta phase. I was just getting into the online gaming scene and really enjoyed playing CS. However back at this time, it was not really a common thing for a girl to play games and I suffered a lot of abuse. I've heard it all "get back in the kitchen", "go play with dolls" "stop trying to play a mans game", "I bet you're a lesbian"....and the rest. It got worse before it got better, I changed email addresses on Three separate occasions due to "boys" being idiots and not being content with abusing me in-game, they would get my details off steam and send me messages including all of the above and worse. It's something you either get really bothered by or you ignore. Being bullied in school was a blessing in disguise, it taught me to pity people who spent their time being malicious to others, and it made my skin as thick as a rhinos. 

As time went on the abuse got less and less as it became more "acceptable" for girls to play games. I still get the odd snap comment here or there, though I am yet to experience it on WoW, another online game I played until about a year ago which I shall not mention the name of had a terrible community for the most part. Some people were nice but 75% of them were total assholes. I've seen a guy get told to "go get cancer" and myself have been told to "go and die in a fire". But apart from that my gaming ventures in the past 4-5 years have all been pretty stress free (apart from Garrosh).

Ok now time for the brutally honest part. I have, myself, called people out on games, we've all done it. But my insults are never personal and usually stretch about as far as "you noob" or "you idiot" or anything along the same lines. So I am no angel in all this, and I would be a liar if I said I had never insulted anyone online, because I know I have, but, I never make it personal, that's when it becomes bullying. 

Cyber bullying is evidently still alive and kicking, in the gaming world. 

I read an interesting article which stated:

"Cyberbullying is recognized as a legitimate threat on social networks, but video games are often overlooked as battlegrounds for the same kind of behavior. One World of Warcraft player complained on the forums that a group of players was harassing people by impersonating players and bothering others, bringing blame on their targets. This is similar to Facebook cyberbullying when high school students create fake profiles of fellow students. They then post humiliating information about them, or harass others under their assumed name."

Just yesterday I read a blog written by a woman who got abused (and that's putting it lightly) via twitter because she voiced an opinion. What the hell is wrong with people? Why do people feel the need to personally attack someone because they didn't like the opinion?? You know, freedom of speech still exists and all but that does not give you the right to tear somebody to shreds with disgusting, vile, and personal attacks when they did absolutely NOTHING to deserve them, IE: no personal attack was made in the first place. It sickens me to see that people are ready to jump on the band wagon to attack someone behind an internet name just to follow someone else.

I have done some other research to see just how bad it is and have read countless stories from people being abused online through games because of all sorts of things, including race, religion, sex and disabilities. Each one made me sad to think that people doing a recreational activity could find amusement or enjoyment from hurting other people. The cold hard truth is that any sort of bullying can ruin lives. Causing depression, which I have first hand experience with, and worst case, suicide.

I am not naive enough to think that it will ever stop. It wont. Some people will always need an outlet for their own insecurities, and others are just of a malicious nature and enjoy causing other people pain. But that being said I think it's important to speak up about this issue, so may people are too frightened to talk about it because they are worried about the comeback. In the future I am looking to set up another blog of sorts with the aim of helping people having issues to air their problems to me, and I will do my best to support them. It's only in very basic planning now but it is something I would like to do.

Having studied a lot of psychology I know how bullies work, and my door is always open to anyone having problems. My contact details are all on the blog. 

For some more upbeat news, I shall be appearing on an edition of Monk Meditation on Saturday 22nd of February when the girls are taking over!! More info on that closer to the time ;) Be prepared!!

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