In 2018, Pew Research found out that 59% of US teenagers faced cyberbullying while playing online games. Gamers across the world have reported racist and sexist slurs in real-time games. About 11% of gamers were found to be culprits of cyberbullying
as compared to 9% of non-gamers.
What makes the trend disturbing is the prevalence of cyberbullying and no robust system to prevent it. How do you even identify someone when the whole gaming world prefers pseudo names?
The same issue pops up in the case of stalking. Female gamers often complain that they receive harassing or sexually explicit messages. 26% of women have faced online stalking
and 25% have experienced sexual harassment on online platforms, especially gaming sites.
Even though women make up 45% of the gamers, there is no mechanism to keep anti-social elements away from gaming sites.
Online stalking and cyberbullying give rise to several issues. The prominent of them are:
1. Identity theft:
Bully and hackers often indulge in identity theft and use the victim’s bank details or personal details. More women are harassed through rumors and name-calling.
2. Racial and sexist slur:
Gamers especially those from the LGBTQ community and colored people report racial and sexist abuse online during games.
3. Mental anxiety:
A very far-fetched result of cyber-bullying and stalking is the rise of mental issues among gamers. Self-harm, suicidal thoughts, depression, and isolation are the most common effects. With a constant fear of bullying, victims report a negative effect on self-esteem.
Ours is the digital world. It is impossible to stay away from the internet. Moreover, avoiding the internet is not the solution. Getting rid of the bullies is!
7 Ways In Which You Can Avoid Online Stalking And Cyberbullying:
Most of the culprits suffer from some kind of identity crisis. When they fail to intimidate someone in real life, they resort to online mode. The best way to act is to ignore. Do not reply to their messages, acknowledge their activity, or give any kind of attention.
They may continue to still harass you for initial 2-3 days but when you will not feed their ego, they will ultimately stop. Simply tell yourself; “this person does not exist for me”. Period!
The easiest way to avoid an online criminal is to block that ID. All gaming sites provide this facility. If someone is bothering you, you should first try to talk him/her out. But when they fail to listen to you, the best you can do is block them.
Once you realize that a person is a bully, you should save other gamers from the same harrowing experience. Contact the gaming platform’s customer service and report your issue to them. Most platforms like askboosters.com
have strict guidelines about online bullying and stalking.
The presence of an anti-social element poses a danger to the game’s reputation. So, they take prompt action by either giving a stern warning to such people or banning them from the platform.
4. Inform your parents:
If you are a teenager, the best way to handle cyberbullies is to inform your parents. Most teenagers do not know how to deal with such people. You must have heard about the deadly “blue whale” game where teenagers with self-confidence issues became targets.
When you inform your parents, they tend to take the situation in their charge. That helps most of the time. Instead of being harassed, it is better to seek help from your parents and elders.
5. Never reveal your details:
Many online stalkers and bullies feed on your personal information. many may end up on your doorstep and start harassing you in the real world. So, you must never reveal your address, phone number, personal email id, and any other personal information to anyone online.
People may seem friendly and nice but that is what makes the victims fall for them.
6. Do a google search:
You may never know how your name is used online unless you find it yourself. If you detect any suspicious activity, do a simple google search. If someone has put up your name on any other unauthorized site, report it immediately to the site owners.
7. Report to the police:
Most bullies thrive on the idea that it is impossible to track down a culprit online. After all, how can someone catch a mark for cyber-stalking when he goes by the name jen123 on the gaming platform? But reporting to the police is the smart step here.
Take screenshots of the messages, record the objectionable videos or threats, and any other kind of evidence. Contact the emergency police helpline number and produce the evidence. The IT and cyber-security experts can track down the culprit using the IP address.
These IT cells have specialized personnel who can crack-down the exact location and catch the culprit. Moreover, they can even find out about your other online activities. So, stop being afraid. Simply report to the police.
Online gaming is a wonderful world. It requires discipline, strong analytical ability, and smart planning to excel. Many gamers around the world are earning huge bucks simply by live-streaming their games. Today, gaming is more than just a hobby. It is a profession. And to make this professional environment beer, it is important to make the gamers safe from cyber-crimes.