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Online Game Bullying

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#1 bink

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:08 PM

What do you do when you're being bullied online by some jerk who, shielded in his/her anonymity, hurls insults at you like that's their one talent in life? I figured this would be a good topic for us all to discuss, since I'm sure we've all experienced it.


Personally I play on Xbox live, and people on there can be cruel for flat out no reason, and cruel to anybody. There are so many outlets for them to perpetuate the cruelty too: voice chat, game behavior, nasty notes...When this happens I usually mute or avoid the person, but still sometimes I can't believe how people can be so insensitive. It at least makes me feel better to know that I won't have to encounter this person again (hopefully).


What do you guys think about this aspect of gaming culture though? I think it's disgraceful and provides a really hostile environment for younger gamers who inevitably end up adopting the senseless bullying themselves. Have any of you said insensitive things to fellow gamers? How do you feel about your own experiences as a bully, or as someone who has been bullied by an anonymous party? What do you do when it happens? Have you ever stood up for someone online that you didn't know, when they were being bullied? How do you feel about having younger sisters/brothers or your own children engage in this type of environment?

#2 Sansa Stark

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:50 PM

Thankfully, I haven't really experienced any bullying when I play. But this is due to how little I play online.

My feelings on this is that people are more likely to bully others online for the fact that they find it easier to trash-talk and insult behind an username and avatar. This is really no different that the bullying that occurs on social sites such as Facebook and forums. All forms of bullying are bad and something that I really truly hope goes away. I don't see that happening though. :( Too many mean spirited people out there.

I try my hardest to not insult anyone, online or in real life. And I have made it a point to discuss the effects of bullying to my kids regardless of whether it's done face-to-face or over the internet. This is one of the reasons that I do not allow my kids to play the online parts of any games. There are certain words I rather they don't pick up and I also assume that someone out there will make fun of how my kids play (i.e having poor aim, not doing what the mission expects) without knowing that the one behind the controller is only 6 or 7 years old. And isn't playing a game to get top score but rather to have fun.

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#3 Steve Bitto

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:13 PM

People need to grow thicker skin.

If someone is playing so bad that they are ruining the experience for me, I let them know about it. If you don't know how to play the game, the last place you want to be is on my team. Now I don't use any of the derogatory slurs that have become popular in online gaming but I won't lose game after game because someone on my team can't understand the objectives.

If a kid can have fun running into a corner, driving the wrong way in a racing game or wandering aimlessly until the match ends, they should do it offline instead of ruining the game for people who are actually playing it.

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#4 bink

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:42 PM

...And I have made it a point to discuss the effects of bullying to my kids regardless of whether it's done face-to-face or over the internet. This is one of the reasons that I do not allow my kids to play the online parts of any games. There are certain words I rather they don't pick up and I also assume that someone out there will make fun of how my kids play (i.e having poor aim, not doing what the mission expects) without knowing that the one behind the controller is only 6 or 7 years old...

I am glad you discuss these things with your kids. I think some people are more sensitive than others, and some do have thicker skin; I also don't think it is "right" or "wrong" to be either of these. It's just the differences among people, and part of what makes everyone unique. I hope as your kids grow older and start playing online, that they are able to be true to themselves and know how to appropriately manage communication with other people in ways that enhance everyone's gaming experience. :)



People need to grow thicker skin.

If someone is playing so bad that they are ruining the experience for me, I let them know about it. If you don't know how to play the game, the last place you want to be is on my team. Now I don't use any of the derogatory slurs that have become popular in online gaming but I won't lose game after game because someone on my team can't understand the objectives.

If a kid can have fun running into a corner, driving the wrong way in a racing game or wandering aimlessly until the match ends, they should do it offline instead of ruining the game for people who are actually playing it.

Although I feel differently than you, I can respect your point of view. I too have become irritated when players ignore the intent of the game and forego winning for goofy antics. However, I feel that with such a wide age variety of gamers, it's difficult to have the same expectations for each player when you have no idea of their age or maturity level.

Plus, sometimes people have different interpretations of "the objective" in games. For instance, in Halo, some play objective gametypes as if they're slayer matches. Is this okay? Some would say yes, some would say no. With all of these differences between individual gamers, I think it's somewhat unnecessary for people to act out so agressively at other players as they do. That's why personally, I take a more passive route; instead of lashing back at people who insult me, I quiety ignore, avoid, mute, or block communications from them to stop their behavior from adversely affecting me.

#5 Marcus Estrada

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:48 PM

I understand the response from many people that you just have to ignore it. It certainly doesn't help to take insults to heart, especially when whoever is insulting you is probably doing the same to tons of other gamers. It's not personal.

Even with such logic in your head though online bullying can still affect you. Like, okay, on PSN I have a rather girly username. Because of it I think people assume I'm a woman, apparently. From just playing Soul Calibur IV I received messages on multiple occasions which were rather explicit. Now, I obviously had no interest in these people and they had no idea who I was but it still felt really awful to receive and see it. I felt embarrassed and bad! It wasn't my fault that people are ridiculous but it definitely threw me off for a bit.

I'm glad that there are ways to block or report people on online games on any space (PC, 360, PS3, etc). I use the block or mute feature quite often because usually there's one or more immature player online. Still, it isn't pleasant to go into a game and always have to do this. Obviously all the bully gamers aren't going to suddenly stop it, but damn, there need to be more places that gamers like us can go to escape.

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#6 Sansa Stark

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:35 PM

People need to grow thicker skin.

If someone is playing so bad that they are ruining the experience for me, I let them know about it. If you don't know how to play the game, the last place you want to be is on my team. Now I don't use any of the derogatory slurs that have become popular in online gaming but I won't lose game after game because someone on my team can't understand the objectives.

If a kid can have fun running into a corner, driving the wrong way in a racing game or wandering aimlessly until the match ends, they should do it offline instead of ruining the game for people who are actually playing it.

I agree that people do need to have thicker skin when it comes to this, but only to a point. It should not excuse anyone from making hateful remarks. You can tell someone that you think that their playing style isn't what you want to have on your team in a polite manner. There is never any need to come off as rude. However, there are those who can and will take any remark and twist it to come off as bullying.

I think the main issue with bullying is how they feel the need to incorporate slurs and foul language into their remarks when telling another player that it's not working out. Perhaps, it would even be good to work with someone if they do seem to have trouble in understanding the objective.

I agree with you that kids should stick with playing offline. But not really for the ruining someone else's game. Not saying that they should be allowed to or that no one should get upset over it! However, on some of the games that are rated for the younger audience, I feel that companies should have a server or two dedicated for kids. And if you don't want your experience ruined by some 8 year old doing donuts instead of finishing a race, then you choose the server for the older audience.

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#7 Jordan Haygood

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:33 PM

I just ignore that crap. Then I spend the rest of my time wondering what happened to the human race.

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#8 edlove

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:14 PM

Most games have an ignore feature. If someone I'm playing with is that annoying I simply ignore them. It can be aggravating but then I remember that while there are a lot of people online whose sole purpose in life is to troll everyone else they're (usually) only a small percentage of the games population. Most of my interactions with the population are positive and I refuse to let a couple of aggravating trolls ruin my experience.

#9 Ciel

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 11:28 PM

My bad experiences online more or less derive from listening to overly aggressive players. Now when I play online my headset is usually plugged it but resting somewhere beside me as it is easier than muting other players. I do not much care for listening to people complain about the mundane in any real life scenario so why would I choose to listen to Guy A yell at Guy B for doing whatever it is he is doing? I understand if he is not being a team player, but why be rude about it? Once in a great while, last night for example on Forza 4, do I discover some really decent people that actually add to my online experience rather than take from it.

#10 John Kidman

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 01:15 AM

I agree that people do need to have thicker skin when it comes to this, but only to a point. It should not excuse anyone from making hateful remarks. You can tell someone that you think that their playing style isn't what you want to have on your team in a polite manner. There is never any need to come off as rude. However, there are those who can and will take any remark and twist it to come off as bullying.

I think the main issue with bullying is how they feel the need to incorporate slurs and foul language into their remarks when telling another player that it's not working out. Perhaps, it would even be good to work with someone if they do seem to have trouble in understanding the objective.

I agree with you that kids should stick with playing offline.


I mostly agree with growing thicker skin, but she is absolutely correct about it not being an excuse.

Bullying can have a profound effect on people, whether it occurs online or in person. As it pertains to online gaming it can often border on harassment and abuse. I really hate to take this stance, but if people are afraid that they are being a victim or don't want to be a victim they should pretty much just avoid online gaming chat (easily utilized mute button) or stay offline. I know it shouldnt be a permanent solution, but if you get burned by a hot stove daily... you should just avoid touching it.

#11 Shane Leonard

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:52 AM

Being the victim of offline bullying, you think I'm going to take being bullied online-- the place I ran to while I was being bullied in the real world? HECK NO! I'll bite back because I can. Now, I won't do anything worse than they do and I won't initiate (being an Ambassador requires I be on better behavior than that and it's just plain smart).

I'll usually ask them to please not call me sexist things or accuse me of being a lesbian etc., and just focus on the game. If they ignore my pleas and continue being abusive I'll just slap them on ignore. If I think they might be fun to mess with I'll return fire. But more often than not I'll mute and report for abusive language.

Should I have to do this? No. And I hope for one day where it doesn't happen as frequently and the small percentage that engage in it get dogpiled for it and shamed out of the lobby.

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#12 Shin GenX

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:35 AM

Yeah... anonyminity and well... people just don't go well sometimes.
Ignore button is good and if it gets bad I just report them. I am sure Xbox Live has some sort of a system.
League of Legends another game that I play every now and then also has a report function.

I am planning to teach my son to learn to protect himself but to never use his power simply to get his way.

#13 Barristan Selmy

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 08:59 AM

I don't worry about morons in online games. I just mute them. I don't have the patience to get into arguments with people on Xbox LIVE. I spend most of my time playing single-player games, so I'm not too worried about it I guess. The only game I really have played online recently were Borderlands and Halo Reach.

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#14 Kiwi

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:07 AM

Kiwi is typically in a skype call or something with buddies when we play online. We don't really "bully" people, we mostly just laugh at them in our skype tree house (and sometimes out of it) And we tend to be immune to the barbs of your typical online denizen.
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#15 bink

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 10:58 AM

... I really hate to take this stance, but if people are afraid that they are being a victim or don't want to be a victim they should pretty much just avoid online gaming chat (easily utilized mute button) or stay offline. I know it shouldnt be a permanent solution, but if you get burned by a hot stove daily... you should just avoid touching it.

I don't quite agree with this because it's treating the symptom rather than the problem. It shouldn't be the people against online bullying or online aggressive behavior who should have to disengage themselves from an activity. Would you tell a kid at school who is bullied to just not go to school? Certainly not, right? They should be able to enjoy the environment as everyone else, and reap the benefits of education without some jerk making fun of them all day.

I think what's so surprising to me though about the online gaming environment, is that it's actually highly populated with adults. Not kids who haven't reached a decent level of maturity, but full-grown adults who most likely hold jobs and have families, or at least are over the age of 18 and are starting their adult lives. We should be positive examples for the younger generations, in all aspects, even beyond online gaming. However, most people take their influence in the world for granted and just put out nothing but negativity and immaturity.


Being the victim of offline bullying, you think I'm going to take being bullied online-- the place I ran to while I was being bullied in the real world? HECK NO! I'll bite back because I can. Now, I won't do anything worse than they do and I won't initiate (being an Ambassador requires I be on better behavior than that and it's just plain smart).

I'll usually ask them to please not call me sexist things or accuse me of being a lesbian etc., and just focus on the game. If they ignore my pleas and continue being abusive I'll just slap them on ignore. If I think they might be fun to mess with I'll return fire. But more often than not I'll mute and report for abusive language.

Should I have to do this? No. And I hope for one day where it doesn't happen as frequently and the small percentage that engage in it get dogpiled for it and shamed out of the lobby.


I used to banter with people too if they initiated it. Now though I think it fuels the fire far too much. Besides curse words, the most common insult I receive (which isn't really one at all) is something along the lines of being a little boy, because I am female and have a higher voice. However, I've come to realize that the only behavior I can really control and/or influence is my own and no one else's. Therefore, I don't even engage in the conversation any more if it turns sour, and instead I remove the rude people from my world by blocking, muting, reporting, etc.

#16 Sirius909

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:06 AM

I either ignore or talk back for fun. People should just ignore the internet trolls or have fun with them.

#17 Daenerys Stormborn

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:48 AM

While there are these types of people that play online on ALL platforms, it's become VERY apparent to me that Xbox Live is by far the worst when it comes to insults, slurs, bullying and just all around obnoxious people online. I hate stereotyping a group of people but I've found that generally the Xbox Live community (the ones that play online) is comprised of mostly immature children who have nothing better to do. The people that DON'T do this kind of stuff are usually in party chat, or just have everyone muted, which has generally been my attitude toward online games on Xbox Live. I mute everyone and just join my party chat.

Meanwhile on PC and PS3, which both have their fair share of idiots, I rarely have mute people because I usually play with people who are mature enough to play without screaming profanities into their mic.

I also believe it has ALOT to do with the game you're playing. If you're playing COD on Xbox Live don't be surprised if you're in a lobby with a bunch of immature children, because 90% of COD players seem to fit that category (Just because you're over 18 doesn't exclude you from that category, it's the attitude not the age). Whilst if you're playing Counter Strike on Steam, you'll likely end up with (slightly) more mature players.

Just my thoughts.

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#18 DarkCobra86

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:54 AM

I actually never been bullied online but that could be due to the fact that I never actually played online. But to be honest, I think these kids just need to grow up. It is so true. The only reason why these people think they are such hot shots is because we are all online and they know whatever they say or do or attempt to do, will have no consequences. No one can do anything to them or know where they are. I really could care less what they do. I don't have time to sit down and argue with them. It is a waste of time to try and argue with them, it really shows that I'll be immature myself. It is tough though because it'll get to you and you always want to come back and destroy. I say, let your game speak for itself. Most of these are from COD I'm sure. Just don't have a headset on and you won't have to listen to it. You'll have this everywhere and you can't let it get to you. After all, it is all just words and life will go on. You'll never meet them again so who cares. Just go headshot them and move on like it's nothing.

#19 SeveranceZero

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:42 PM

I like this thread quite a lot, people here raise some really valid points and it's also interesting to see the different steps that people take to deal with cyber-bullying.

I think that bullying in any form, whether in real or virtual life, boils down to insecurity. More often then not a person resorts to bullying when they are insecure about something in their own life. Take for example a person playing COD, if they have their mic on and they start doing poorly, you can hear usually hear them get upset, they start cursing, using slurs, the tone in their voices shifts to anger/annoyance. Now if you happen to mention something to them, they will likely lash out at you because they need to vent and end up projecting their feelings onto someone else, as a means to cope with their poor performance or anger at the time (or some combination of many things). So you may mention something like, "Hey, you might want to calm down and you might start doing better because anger clouds your judgement" or "If you are going to get so upset, would you mind cutting off your mic, so we don't have to hear it?" or whatever you might say. And that's the trigger for them to attack you. Now all their insults, anger and such will be directed at you as a way to distance them-self from their own issues/problems. I've heard countless times of someone getting into a fight (with their mic on) with someone such as their spouse/gf/parent, only to turn around and lash out on the first person to speak in the lobby.

This leads into another issue, do you want to diffuse the situation or add more fuel to the fire? You could retort back, maybe feel proud that you made a witty comment that irks the person even more. Or possibly smile at the thought of annoying someone who is aggravating you but this may not be the best option. If their comments continue, you can choose to ask them to stop (politely), if they don't simply mute/ignore/block them. You can then also report them if you feel it is necessary. Now, this isn't always the easiest thing to do, as sometimes people just get to you but do you want to stoop to their level? Or would you rather take the higher ground and know that you made the right choice. It speaks much more to the quality of your own character if you can choose the latter option.

As for having thicker skin, I guess you could take that approach but as others have mentioned above, that's no excuse for allowing people to bully others. While being more resistant to insults may come easier to some people, others have a more difficult time dealing with it. They shouldn't have to opt out of playing online with others simply because a small handful of people decide to be obnoxious and insulting. In fact, I would argue that others should be careful of what they say so as not to insult others!

Then there are always the people who troll just because they find it "funny" and in this case, don't feed them! They are only looking to get a rise out of you, so as long as they keep getting responses from you, whether positive or negative, they will continue to do so. Don't give them that satisfaction and they will eventually stop as they lose their form of entertainment. I have a rather recent example of this. Two friends were in a lobby, they were talking back and forth to each other complaining, each match the guy would call out names and state "F***ing hackers, every lobby is hacked and everyone has to cheat, you guys are garbage." I then mentioned, not EVERYONE is cheating, maybe he just needs to change his playstyle, if it's not working out for him (Clearly it wasn't since he was complaining after every match and death!). Then he started bashing me with his friend, calling me a know it all, loser, pathetic, ***, ****, dumbass, all knowing god! - teach him how to play, among a plethora of other things. They invited me to party and mocked me for about 15 minutes straight, I humored them at first because it was amusing how serious they were taking the game and what I said, but then it was became annoying. I left and joined another lobby, they continued to follow me for over an hour, to each new lobby, trash talking to me in the lobbies and such. I didn't respond back and I guess eventually they grew tired and left. I'm sure if I continued to retort back it would have gone on for quite some time! It's like a cat playing with yarn, they only find it fun as long as you are moving the yarn, as soon as it stops, they lose interest and stop playing with it.

I also get annoyed when people don't play the objectives in a specific game as it ruins MY experience but in these cases I simply ask them to go play another game type if they aren't going to play the objective. For example, if I am playing Domination in COD (Capture and hold points A,B,C) and I notice people just going around getting kills, instead of capping/holding. Then I say "Hey, could you leave and just go play Team Deathmatch if you aren't going to try to cap and defend? You can farm kills there". Sometimes people leave, other times they start to harass me but I don't react to them...worst case scenario I move to another lobby. It's all a matter of learning how to deal with it and knowing how to let others know that they aren't pulling their weight? I guess you would say, without coming across as one of those elitist/rude/obnoxious people.

#20 bink

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:33 PM

Hey sev, thanks for your thoughful reply. I too have found that severing communication with people who intend to hurt is the easiest and best course of action. Frequently they do become bored and move onward. I don't think people give the issue of online bullying, or as a step backward, online insensitivity or lack of tact, enough consideration. I personally think it is a very prevalent symptom of so many people's poor communication skills and extreme lack of empathy in real life.

I once heard that under times of pressure and anxiety one's true character comes forth; I think this is definitly true for situations involving anonymity too. People are not "suddenly" rude and lacking in moral character - those traits were already present, but are further enhanced by situational factors, like anonymity.

I am very passionate about the way in which people choose to communicate, because I recognize what power words can hold. Emotional abuse is still considered abuse although it is just words, and even if the interaction is less than what we would term "abuse", I still think people underestimate the impact it can have on someone. That's why I started this topic, to get people talking about it -- to get it out there. At the very least if people don't feel comfortable discussing it, they are beginning to think about it more.




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