There’s a horrible and compelling study on Preply about gamers, racism and hate speech. Preply is a site about finding education support, such as online tutors, and so I imagine it cares about mental health and online issues.
Preply notes we’re approaching 3 billion computer gamers, and there are problems with hate speech on online gaming platforms. They’re right, but I want to underline that it’s not just limited to gaming platforms.
The company surveyed about 1,400 gamers about their exposure to racism and hate online while gaming. That’s a non-trivial number of people.
Over 90% have seen bullying or emotional abuse
Preply’s survey said that nearly 70% of gamers have thought about quitting a game because of the behaviour of others. No wonder gaming companies are spending more time and money to tackle toxic gamers.
Sadly, more than 33% have experienced full-on hate speech while gaming.
Name-calling is the most encountered problem. Sadly, racism is nearly as common! The amount of physical threats and doxxing isn’t small either.
On average, women are more often the target for hateful behavior: 53% of those that identify as women have been attacked for their gender compared to 37% of those that identify as males. Because of this, over half of respondents say they’ve changed their identity to avoid abuse. Most that have done so change their gender or sexual orientation to avoid conflicts.
Gamers take action
What can be done about it?
Nearly half of gamers say they’ve had to report problems. A slightly higher number have blocked or muted other players.
It’s tricky, isn’t it? If you hear someone else causing problems, do you step in, report them silently or just protect your own mental health and block the problem player?
However, according to the survey, there are pros and cons to playing video games. Gamers agree that they get a boost in problem-solving skills and, overall, maybe mental health too.
Parents agree too! The survey also found that adults think children benefit from boosts to social skills, problem-solving and even physical health. But not as many!
The problems are equal on Xbox and PlayStation and slightly less on other networks, with Shooter games being the most toxic.
The full survey has more stats and breakdowns.
Check the comments below to see what readers have to say.