Years of research have shown that video games have, in many ways, influenced gamers in positive ways, such as learning spatial rotation skills, improving psychological well-being, improving game resolution. problems and interest in STEM fields. However, in other cases, these benefits are always thwarted by various negative toxic behaviors.
In the world of online gambling, this is very common as players are subjected to sexual harassment, threats of violence, hate speech, spam, flaming (strong emotional statements intended to elicit a negative reaction), grief (unintentionally using the game to harass players) and doxxing (finding and posting private information). Gamers often rationalize these types of behaviors as part of video game culture. However, new studies have shown that this type of behavior has significant long-term negative effects on gamers who do not fall into the general stereotype of a “gamer”.
The perpetrators of such behaviors tend to be younger, male, and very impulsive with their emotional responsiveness. Despite the fact that studies have shown that women tend to be equally or even more skilled in video games than men when given the same playing time, they are more likely to be victims of abuse and of toxicity than their male counterparts. Studies have suggested that toxicity is more harmful to women, not only in terms of their psychological and emotional well-being, but also because certain coping mechanisms such as masking their voices to hide their gender identity put them at a disadvantage. in the game itself. Such experiences directly discourage them from playing video games, which in turn suggests that they will be less likely to develop an interest in STEM fields – an area where there is already an endemic gender disparity.
The gaming industry is aware of this problem and big companies like Electronic Arts and Valve have launched various anti-toxicity initiatives and policies to address and possibly mitigate such behavior. Other than that, the most effective way to eliminate such behavior is to start at the bottom. In my experience, when playing online video games, I have been subjected to various sexist, homophobic and racist remarks from gamers that I have never seen or met in real life.
Ultimately, video game culture has to change, and it can start at home. One of the ways to alleviate this is to play games with the family. This strategy will not only encourage players to get closer to their family members, but it will also encourage them to learn more appropriate behaviors so that they do not develop toxic and hateful behaviors in the virtual world as in the real world.
Even if you’re not a gamer yourself, you might know someone who is – it could be your siblings, friends, kids, etc. We need to consider bringing these issues to the fore and find ways to ensure that this does not continue.