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Cyberbullying Digital Gaming

What Is In-Game Abuse?

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if someone is just having a bit of banter with us, or if they have a more insidious motive. Bullying in an online game is a lot more common than you might think, and knowing what to do about it can be difficult. So what are the signs of it, and how do you deal with it when it happens?

Signs of in-game abuse 

We know from our research that 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before turning 18. A little known way in which this can happen is in an online game. Here are some of the key signs:

  • They call you names in chats or over headsets
  • They regularly kill you in FPS games
  • They encourage others in the game to gang up on you 
  • They bully you about your ability 
  • They make remarks about your gender, race, or other traits 
  • They harass you consistently
  • They might make fun of you in real life, if you know them offline as well
man, arms, behind, head, computer, lamp, thinking

What can you do about it? 

Responding to online harassment and bullying in a game can be a difficult thing to do. It can feel like there is no real way of solving it when you don’t actually know who is behind the screen name. But there are plenty of things you can do to put a stop to it and seek support. 

  1. Keep a record

If you can, try to keep screen shots or screen recordings of when the abuse happens. This will give you some solid proof if it comes down to it. Also make sure you know their screen name as this is the only way you’ll be able to report them. Keeping a record means you have evidence when speaking to moderators. 

  1. Report it 

You might feel like you don’t want to, or wonder what good it will do, but reporting abuse to the moderators and administrators of the game or game publisher is the best way to get this stopped. Every game will have its own reporting feature so familiarize yourself with this, and have your proof on hand when you do. It is worth doing as you don’t know who else this person is harassing.  

  1. Don’t seek revenge 

It can be tempting to give as good as you get, but this will make you vulnerable to being reported as well. Try to keep calm. Take a break from the game if you need to whilst moderators are dealing with the problem. 

  1. Tell someone in your life about it 

The game and gaming is your hobby and you care about it. Feeling like you can’t play it because of how someone is treating you is bound to have an effect on you, so make sure you include someone supportive in your life in what you are going through. 


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This article is part of our #GamersUnite series. Visit the hub for more advice, tips and ways to support other gamers.

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