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Cyberbullying on Online Gaming Platforms for Children and Youth

Abstract and Figures

Cyberbullying has been recognized as a serious social concern. Considering the varied contexts of online engagement by children and youth is increasingly necessary to adequately understand their experiences and the impact of their participation. An online context which requires further attention is gaming platforms, which are especially popular among boys. Methods: Using a theoretical approach of social dominance, this paper analyzed secondary data drawn from a mixed methods study of cyberbullying to investigate the prevalence and experience of gaming among a quantitative survey sample (n = 670) of 4th, 7th, and 10th grade students, as well as the experience and impact of gaming on a qualitative interview sub-sample (n = 57). Gaming prevalence rates are provided. Boys were significantly more likely to engage in internet gaming (though the effect size was small); χ² (1, n = 669) = 10.11, p = 0.001, phi = −0.123, 95% CI (−0.207, −0.047). Qualitative content analysis (QCA) identified four themes: (1) aggression (exceeding what was required to achieve game objectives) characterized gaming culture and pervaded gaming platforms; (2) anonymity contributed to the culture of aggression; (3) participants often did not consider aggression cyberbullying, but rather just a part of the culture of gaming platforms; and (4) participants’ responses to aggressive behaviors. Certain behaviors on gaming platforms may not be appropriately recognized as cyberbullying. Implications for social work practice with children and youth are provided.
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Cyberbullying and Online Gaming Platforms for Children and Youth
Lauren B. McInroy
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto
Faye Mishna
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto
Compliance with Ethical Standards:
Lauren B. McInroy declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Faye Mishna declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Corresponding author: 246 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 1V4.
Purpose: Cyberbullying has been recognized as a serious social concern. Considering the varied
contexts of online engagement by children and youth is increasingly necessary to adequately
understand their experiences and the impact of their participation. An online context which
requires further attention is gaming platforms, which are especially popular among boys.
Methods: Using a theoretical approach of social dominance, this paper analyzed secondary data
drawn from a mixed methods study of cyberbullying to investigate the prevalence and
experience of gaming among a quantitative survey sample (n = 670) of 4th, 7th, and 10th grade
students, as well as the experience and impact of gaming on a qualitative interview sub-sample
(n = 57). Results: Gaming prevalence rates are provided. Boys were significantly more likely to
engage in internet gaming (though the effect size was small); χ² (1, n = 669) = 10.11, p = 0.001,
phi = -.123, 95% CI [-.207, -.047]. Qualitative content analysis (QCA) identified four themes: (1)
aggression (exceeding what was required to achieve game objectives) characterized gaming
culture and pervaded gaming platforms; (2) anonymity contributed to the culture of aggression;
(3) participants often did not consider aggression cyberbullying, but rather just a part of the
culture of gaming platforms; and (4) participants’ responses to aggressive behaviors. Discussion:
Certain behaviors on gaming platforms may not be appropriately recognized as cyberbullying.
Implications for social work practice with children and youth are provided.
Social Dominance; Online Youth Culture; Media and Technology; Video Games; Gender;
Cyberbullying and the Culture of Online Gaming Platforms for Children and Youth
Nearly all youth (13 17) (92%) were online daily in the United States in 2015 (Lenhart
et al., 2015a). Given this ubiquitous participation the implications for cyberbullying, a
widespread and increasing social concern (Mishna et al., 2016), must be considered. While girls
predominate on social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), boys are most likely
to engage in gaming (Lenhart et al., 2015a). Digital gaming (hereafter gaming) comprises online
and/or offline engagement via a variety of digital gaming devices and platforms, including
consoles (e.g., Playstation, Xbox), handheld devices (e.g., Nintendo DS), mobile devices (e.g.,
smartphones, tablets), and computers (Common Sense, 2015; Lenhart et al., 2015a). Gaming is
interactive, and may be played individually, cooperatively with others, and/or in competition
with others. Other players may be present in-person and/or online (Granic et al., 2014). A wide
variety of genres are available (e.g., strategic, simulation, role-playing, fantasy, action), and
many games include aspects of multiple genres (Boyle et al. 2016; Brooks et al. 2016).
Gaming has “shifted… to a central leisure activity for… young people, with a steady
increase over the last decade” (Brooks et al., 2016, p. 36). In the context of this growth, through
analysis of secondary data drawn from a mixed methods study of cyberbullying, the purpose of
this paper is to investigate the prevalence and experience of online gaming among a diverse
quantitative sample (n = 670) of Canadian primary, middle, and secondary students, as well as
the experience and impact of online gaming culture on a qualitative sub-sample (n = 57). While
there has been a rapidly growing body of scholarship on cyberbullying over the past decades
(Mishna et al., 2016; Modecki et al., 2014), more detailed research on gaming contexts is
necessary. Using a theoretical approach of social dominance, specifically maintenance of social
hierarchies, this paper argues that the gap in scholarship is due at least partly to certain
excessively aggressive gaming behaviors which exceed the aggression required to actively
participate in gameplay and meet game objectives not being evaluated to determine if and how
they should be considered cyberbullying. Thus, this paper provides a contribution to social work
Engagement in gaming differs by gender. In the United States in 2014/2015 (n = 1060)
nearly all boys (91%) 13 17 owned or had access to a gaming console, compared to 70% of
girls. Most boys (84%) also engaged in gaming online or on their mobile devices, compared to
59% of girls (Lenhart et al., 2015a). Other research of youth (n = 2658) 8 18 in 2015 had
similar findings, with 27% of boys indicating gaming is their favorite digital activity, versus only
2% of girls. Boys averaged 56 minutes a day of gaming, whereas girls averaged 7 minutes
(Common Sense, 2015). While these numbers indicate a substantial gender gap, gaming among
girls appears to be on a generally upward trajectory (Brooks et al., 2016; Lenhart et al., 2015a).
Potential positive outcomes and friendships
The potential of positive outcomes from gaming have begun to be identified, including:
improved prosocial behavior and self-monitoring; social cooperation and support; motivation,
perseverance, and resilience; problem-solving and memory retention; positive emotion and
mood; improved attention and processing skills; and visual/spatial skills (Boyle et al., 2016;
Brooks et al., 2016; Granic et al., 2014; Johnson & Puplampu, 2008). Gaming may offer
important opportunities for developing friendships. Over half of teens (52%) participate in
gaming with friends, both offline (89%) and online (54%). Gaming may be especially critical in
developing and maintaining friendships for boys, enabling daily recreational connections and
interactions with peers (Lenhart et al., 2015b).
Risks: Potential negative outcomes
High levels of gaming, particularly among older adolescents, may be linked with negative
outcomes (Brooks et al., 2016), including physical health issues (e.g., muscle pain, eating
patterns, sleep patterns), psychological and emotional issues (e.g., low self-esteem, attention
difficulties, social anxiety), and school performance problems (Chang et al., 2015; Griffiths et
al., 2011; Johnson & Puplampu, 2008; Young, 2009). A study of students aged 11 15 (n =
4404) in the United Kingdom in 2009/2010 found that for boys high levels of gaming were
associated with bullying perpetration and victimization, as well as going to bed hungry. For girls
high levels of gaming were associated with lower life satisfaction (Brooks et al., 2016).
Gaming addiction is a type of internet addiction. While prevalence estimates are
challenging, addiction to online games is a significant problem among youth (Young, 2009). The
impact of violence portrayed in gaming is more unclear, and research on the relationship
between violence and gaming remains inconclusive (Ballard & Welch, 2015; Brooks et al.,
2016). Some research has indicated that gaming may provide occasions for the development of
hostility and aggression, as well as decreased attention and desensitization to violence
(Anderson, 2010; Chang et al., 2015; Johnson & Puplampu, 2008). Other research has
questioned such findings based on methodological and publication challenges (Ferguson, 2007).
A variety of organizations and interest groups have advocated for moderation in media use
(including gaming) by youth, generally for two hours maximum daily (Brooks et al., 2016). Such
guidelines have been critiqued for being unrealistic, emphasizing a focus on improving positive
outcomes (e.g., improving quality of content) rather than decreasing time (McCarthy, 2013).
Risks: Cyberbullying
A proliferation of research indicates cyberbullying is a widespread and increasing social
problem (Mishna et al., 2016; Modecki et al., 2014). While definitions vary (Byrne et al., 2016),
cyberbullying generally refers to the use of technology to engage in bullying. Bullying consists
of direct and/or indirect aggression (Hanish & Guerra, 2000; Olweus, 1991), and may take many
forms, including physical, verbal, psychological, or relational behaviors (Mishna et al., 2016,
p. 2). While physicality is less salient for cyberbullying, the verbal, psychological and relational
dimensions of bullying remain significant (Hanish & Guerra 2000; Olweus, 1991). Unique
factors may also reinforce cyberbullying’s negative impacts (Fryling et al., 2015), including: its
accessibility, its perpetrator anonymity, its widespread dissemination, and the indelible quality of
its information” (Chang et al., 2015, p. 258). Estimates of cyberbullying vary for a variety of
reasons, including research designs and inconsistent definitions. Existing research indicates that
between 10 40% of youth report experiencing cyberbullying, demonstrating the significance of
the phenomenon (Mishna et al., 2016; Kowalski et al., 2014).
There has been limited recent research regarding gaming and cyberbullying, as the social
aspects of gaming provide opportunities for cyberbullying (Ballard and Welch, 2015). An online
sample of youth and adults 12 70 (x
̄ = 22.04) in a gaming community (n = 1033) found that
cyberbullying on gaming platforms has negative outcomes (e.g., lower self-esteem, higher
depression, higher anxiety) for both victims and perpetrators. Victims were more likely to be
younger (Fryling et al., 2015). Boys may be especially likely to engage in online gaming with
voice connections, allowing them to collaborate and converse (Lenhart et al. 2015b), including
trash-talk or use disparaging, taunting, or boastful comments between opponents trying to
intimidate each other” (Merriam-Webster, 2016b). Another study (n = 151) of gamers (18 52, x
= 21) found females and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) people are more
likely to be victims of cyberbullying, while males and non-LGBTQ people are more likely to be
perpetrators. One fifth (22%) of participants had been victimized in the past three months,
including general (52%) and sexualized (48%) name calling (Ballard and Welch 2015).
Social dominance theory and bullying
Social dominance theory (SDT) investigates social organization processes which
produce and maintain hierarchical social structure[s]” (Sidanius & Pratto, 2012, p. 418)
resulting in group-based social inequality. Such social processes include prejudice, oppression,
and discrimination based upon membership in a subordinate group (e.g., gender, racial/ethnic,
LGBTQ). Group-based inequality is maintained at the individual-level through individual acts
of cruelty” (Sidanius & Pratto 2012, p. 416), including instances of bullying. Scholarship exists
on the interaction between social dominance, bullying, and gender stereotypes. Bullying may be
employed to exert social dominance and reinforce social hierarchies, and can be an expression of
stereotypical gendered behavior (particularly of socially masculine traits such as dominance,
aggression, and seeking power and social control) (Morales et al., 2016). Notably, both males
and females may express these socially masculine traits (Morales et al., 2016), though boys in
particular may use such bullying to establish their own masculinity (Pascoe, 2013). Thus,
stereotypical gendered behavior, such as gender-based insults (e.g., attributing feminine traits to
male victims, disparaging female victims morality or sexuality) (Pascoe, 2013), may be used in
bullying in an attempt to socially subordinate individuals and groups.
Gaming Culture
The research on gaming and cyberbullying does not fully account for the particular
cultural context of gaming platforms. New participants in gaming are socialized into complex
patterns of language, interaction, norms, and community” (Crawford et al., 2011, p. 12); patterns
which may be characteristic of gaming culture generally and/or specific to particular gaming
platforms or genres. Social hierarchies and individual reputations are often important, and are
acquired throughlearning and demonstrating knowledge and [adherence to] expected patterns
of behavior” (Crawford et al., 2011, p. 13). Key aspects of cyberbullying may play out in unique
ways in gaming contexts. For example, social dominance is often identified as a primary
motivator for perpetrators of bullying (Morales et al., 2016). In gaming contexts, game rank
an indicator of dominance [may be] a potential motivating force” (Ballard & Welch, 2015, p.
5) for cyberbullying. Thus, the power imbalances characteristic of bullying (Mishna et al., 2016)
may take on different forms in gaming contexts (Ballard & Welch, 2016), and may be instigators
of conflict. Some issues within gaming culture have recently received significant attention, most
notably #GamerGate an online harassment campaign (e.g., threats) against prominent feminist
gamers and game developers challenging the masculine culture of gaming (Ballard & Welch,
2015; Evans & Janish, 2015).
Limited research exists explicitly on gaming and cyberbullying (Fryling et al., 2015), and
even less specifically on the culture of gaming environments experienced by children and youth.
Gaming can play a significant role, enabling experimentation with and exploration of identity
and self-representation. Gaming, as with many kinds of play, “is socially shaped and… situated,
with purposes, pleasures, and investment inevitably affected by institutional contexts” (Beavis,
2015, p. 816). Gaming culture arguably has the potential to have a significant developmental
impact on engaged youth, and aggressive behaviors experienced by youth in gaming contexts
should be evaluated to address whether and how they are consistent with cyberbullying. This
paper provides a contribution by investigating two research questions using secondary data
analyses. To make the most effective use of available data, and allow for simultaneous breadth
and depth of understanding, mixed methods analyses were employed. (1) What are the
prevalence rates and experiences of gaming and cyberbullying on various types of gaming
platforms among a quantitative sample (n = 670) of primary, middle, and secondary school
students? (2) What are the experiences and impacts of gaming and cyberbullying on a qualitative
sub-sample (n = 57)?
The data used in this secondary analysis are drawn from a longitudinal, mixed methods
Canadian study of bullying and cyberbullying in 19 schools at one of the largest and most
diverse school boards in North America (Toronto District School Board, n.d. 1, n.d. 2). A
comprehensive protocol paper extensively describing the rationale and methodology for this
study is available (Mishna et al., 2016). Data were drawn from a sample of students in primary
school (4th grade), middle school (7th grade), and secondary school (10th grade) followed over
three years. The study protocol received approval by both the University Research Ethics Board
and the School Board Ethics Committee. Informed consent was provided by parents/guardians,
and students provided informed assent.
Procedures and sample
Stratified random sampling was constructed on “three categories of need (low, medium,
and high) based on an indexthat ranked schools on external challenges to student
achievement” (Mishna et al., 2016, p. 3). This facilitated recruitment of a diverse sample in terms
of geography, socio-economic status, and ethno-racial identification. The initial sample in Year 1
comprised 670 students in 4th grade (n = 160), 7th grade (n = 243), and 10th grade (n = 267). All
students in the relevant grades in the selected schools were invited to participate (Mishna et al.,
2016). Participants ranged from 8 16 (x
̄ = 12.63) at the start of the study (Table 1), and could
select multiple ethno-racial categories. The quantitative sample was largely representative of the
school board from which the sample was drawn on multiple demographic factors. Regarding
race-ethnicity, z-scores were computed to compare the quantitative sample and available school
board demographics. The sample was statistically representative of (i.e., not significantly
different from) the reported school board demographics for seven of nine ethno-racial categories
(at the p = 0.05 level). The exceptions were an overrepresentation of White participants (a
difference of 4.5%, p = 0.011) and an underrepresentation of East Asian participants (a
difference of 3%, p = 0.036). Greater statistical detail cannot be provided as the research team
did not have access to the school board’s raw data for comparison.
Several quantitative survey measures were used, which are described in detail elsewhere
(Mishna et al., 2016). Most relevant to this analysis were the Bullying & Cyberbullying:
Perpetrators, Victims & Witnesses Survey, previously used in other Canadian research on
cyberbullying (Mishna, Cook, Gadalla, Daciuk, & Solomon, 2010), and a demographic survey
designed based on the school board’s demographic data collection. Data collection occurred in
the school setting, and participants received a $5 gift card for each year of survey participation.
All descriptive analyses were performed on the Year 1 quantitative sample, and were undertaken
in SPSS 23.
(Insert Table 1 Here).
Procedures and sample
The larger study the secondary data was drawn from included a qualitative sub-sample of
57 students purposefully selected based on a variety of factors (e.g., socio-demographic
diversity; having had cyberbullying experiences as victim, perpetrator, and/or witness).
Qualitative participants in the initial sample were in the 4th grade (n = 20), 7th grade (n = 21), and
10th grade (n = 16). Participants ranged from 9 16 (x
̄ = 12.09) at the start of the study (Table 1).
Participants were interviewed in Year 1 and again in Year 3. Interviews were 3090 minutes,
with an average of approximately 60 minutes. Year 1 interviews took place in schools, while
Year 3 interviews were conducted via phone. Participants received a $10 gift card for each
interview. A semi-structured interview guide was utilized, and evolved over the course of the
study (Mishna et al., 2016). It was adapted between Years 1 and 3 to incorporate a specific
question on gaming. Interviews were transcribed and inputted into ATLAS.ti 7 for analysis. All
transcripts from the qualitative sample were analyzed for relevance to gaming for this paper.
While the study utilized a grounded theory approach throughout data collection and
analysis, this secondary analysis employs qualitative content analysis (QCA). The analysis for
this paper took place after data collection was complete, preventing the cyclical data collection
and analysis process characteristic of grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006). QCA is utilized
systematically to generate meaning from existing textual data in order to elucidate a particular
phenomenon (Elo & Kyngäs, 2008; Forman & Damschroder, 2015; Krippendorff, 2013;
Schreier, 2014). QCA predominantly examines data with relevant “informational content
[generated from] open-ended data collection techniques aimed at detail and depth (Forman &
Damschroder, 2015, 40-41). QCA is particularly good at focusing on specific aspects of a larger
body of material (Schreier, 2014). In this case, interview data were examined for manifest
content related specifically to gaming. Importantly, typical gameplay in violent games (i.e.,
shooting or killing other players’ characters to meet game objectives) was not coded as
cyberbullying; only aggressive behaviors which exceed the necessity of gameplay and were
consistent with the defining characteristics of cyberbullying were coded as such.
Reliability was established through ongoing independent analysis and collective
discussion by the Research Team, which consisted of six researchers, as well as more focused
analysis by the authors. In QCA data are analyzed to identify patterns and generate categories for
a preliminary coding frame, which is then applied to the data and revised in a process of analysis
leading to interpretation (Forman & Damschroder, 2015; Krippendorff, 2013; Schreier, 2012).
For this study the preliminary frame was generally consistent with the final themes.
Nearly half of the quantitative sample (43.5%; n = 291) indicated they went on online
gaming platforms, while the vast majority (84.1%) reported using computers to engage in
internet-based gaming at least sometimes. Participation ranged widely, from once a month to
more than once a day (Table 2). Over half of the qualitative sub-sample (52.6%; n = 30)
indicated they went on online gaming platforms, and the majority (89.5%) reported at least some
internet-based gaming. A chi-square test was completed to examine the relation between online
gaming participation and gender. Boys (50.9%) were significantly more likely to engage in
internet gaming than girls (38.5%), χ² (1, n = 669) = 10.11, p = 0.001, phi = -.123, 95% CI [-
.207, -.047]. The phi value indicates a small effect size (Cohen, 1988) and low practical
significance (Ellis & Steyn, 2003). These findings are compatible with the existing literature that
boys engage in more online gaming than girls, but that the gender gap in gaming may be
lessening (Brooks et al., 2016; Common Sense, 2015; Lenhart et al., 2015a). A chi-square test
was also completed to examine the relation between online gaming and grade. There was a
statistically significant difference in participation by grade level, χ² (2, n = 669) = 53.775, p <
0.001, V = .284, 95% CI [.218, .359]. The Cramer’s V value indicates a medium effect size
(Cohen, 1988) and moderate practical significance (Ellis & Steyn, 2003). Gaming was most
popular among 4th graders (63.7%), followed by 7th graders (47.1%), and 10th graders (28.1%).
(Insert Table 2 Here).
With regard to cyberbullying, participants were asked about victimization, witnessing,
and perpetration on three types of gaming platforms: (1) virtual world games (e.g., Second Life,
Gaia); (2) massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs); and (3) internet-enabled console games
(e.g., Xbox, Playstation). Perpetration, victimization, and witnessing were all quite low for the
full quantitative sample (Table 3), with the highest being witnessing cyberbullying on MMOGs
once or twice (3.3%). Additionally, 3.0% had witnessed cyberbullying once or twice on internet-
enabled console games, and 2.1% had witnessed once or twice on virtual world games. Being a
victim or perpetrator was less common, with the highest prevalence being 1.0% of participants
experiencing cyberbullying victimization once or twice in virtual world games. Due to low
numbers, chi-square analyses examining the relation between cyberbullying status and internet
gaming were not possible. The rates of cyberbullying, particularly witnessing, were notably
higher for the qualitative sub-sample likely due to their purposeful selection for experience
with cyberbullying.
(Insert Table 3 Here).
Four interconnected themes related to online gaming were generated: (1) aggression
(exceeding what was required for achieving game objectives) characterized gaming culture and
pervaded gaming platforms; (2) anonymity on online gaming platforms contributed to the culture
of aggression; (3) participants often did not consider aggressive behaviors cyberbullying, but
rather just a part of the culture of gaming platforms; and (4) participants’ responses to aggressive
Swearing, insults, and other forms of verbal violence were omnipresent in participants
experiences in contexts where they interacted with other players. Arguing and fighting between
players, often through voice and/or text chat functions included in the games, were pervasive.
Other excessive aggressive behaviors in gaming interactions which expressed dominance (e.g.,
singling out and injuring or killing a player’s character repeatedly) were also common. These
behaviors are consistent with the definition and features of cyberbullying (Mishna et al., 2016).
[Cyberbullying] happens in games a lot, if… they don't like the way you're playing they'll
swear at you. (Student 154, Male, Grade 7, Year 1)
[S]aying ‘noob’ means that you’re new to the game and you don’t really know anything
about it. But people use it a lot as an insult. (Student 341, Male, Grade 6, Year 3)
This aggressive or dominant behavior was frequently aimed at younger/newer (and thus
less competent) players. Newb or Noob (shortened forms of Newbie) refer to a newcomer to a
particular activity or task. These terms are frequently used for newcomers to technology; in this
context specifically to newcomers to gaming in general or to a specific gaming platform in
particular (Merriam-Webster, 2016a; Oxford Dictionaries, 2016a). These epithets are commonly
used as insults on gaming platforms, and were experienced as such by some participants.
They would exclude… and if it’s a game where you’re fighting… they kill [the victim]
and they keep saying oh yeah I PWN you’… they [may] feel really bad and… wouldn’t
want to play that game anymore. (Student 341, Male, Grade 4, Year 1)
[Y]ou’re basically telling the person that theyre bad at the game and they should never
play it, they’re so bad and they should practice for a long time before they ever come
back and play it. (Student 020, Male, Grade 6, Year 3)
PWN or pone refers to completely defeating an opponent in a game (Merriam-
Webster, 2016a; Oxford Dictionaries, 2016a). Suiciding’ and ‘feeding opponents’ were also
terms experienced by participants, which both refer to playing badly and/or having one’s
character killed frequently during gameplay. For most participants this aggression was
ubiquitous, and for some it happened every time they played with others. In many of these
experiences, expressions of social dominance and/or reinforcement of the masculine social
norms of strength and competence (Morales et al., 2016) were important components.
They said, oh nobody likes you, you are just some dumb person. Something like that,
stuff like that. And they replied saying, ‘oh yeah I’m a pro wrestler’, or whatever …
Because they wanted to scare the other person into thinking that they could beat them up.
(Student 341, Male, Grade 4, Year 1)
Victimized youth were identified by several participants as those who were unlikely to
stand up for themselves, or too shy or polite, thus exhibiting socially feminine norms (Morales
et al., 2016).
They’re too gentle. They’re too nice, and they’re too gentle so they get used [The
victims] don’t want to hurt someone, even though they’re hurt. (Student 290, Female,
Grade 10, Year 1)
Responses indicated that aggressive players were generally strangers to their victims, and
suggested that aggressors’ behavior was facilitated by the anonymity on gaming platforms. For
several participants, this anonymity seemed to limit the perceived options for responding to this
aggression (i.e., they couldn’t do anything because they didn’t know who the perpetrators were).
Sometimes when I play a game, I make a bad play, and [strangers] just start yelling at me
or typing at me for no reason. I have no idea who they are, and I just have no way to fight
back. Plus it’s there now, and it cannot be deleted, right? … They message me, and they
are like you are bad. Why would you even play…? Uninstall [the game]’. (Student 511,
Male, Grade 9, Year 3)
Not considered cyberbullying: Part of the culture of gaming platforms
Often participants did not seem to consider the behaviors that they had perpetrated,
experienced, and/or witnessed to be cyberbullying. Instead, they considered these behaviors to be
an expected component of their participation.
People are sometimes mean, if you're playing online games and you do bad, sometimes
someone will just attack you for doing bad or not being as good as others… I don't think
it's always cyberbullying. (Student 887, Male, Grade 10, Year 1)
Similarly, many participants downplayed the impact of the aggression they experienced
in gaming contexts, stating that they did not find such behavior to be especially impactful.
The first two times they actually bullied me I felt upset obviously, but then… I was just
like this is dumb. This is a game. You’re supposed to have fun. That’s the point of games
so I didn’t take that personally. (Student 290, Female, Grade 10, Year 1)
Responses to aggressive behaviors
Despite not always framing their experiences as cyberbullying, many participants
responses to aggression when gaming (e.g., turning off or not playing games) indicate that these
experiences may impact youth negatively even if they do not realize it.
Online gaming… people are aggressive on it. So sometimes when I play online, I put on
the headset and you do hear swearing and stuff, like these are kids or people that just
want to win so I just take it off because you don’t want to hear it. (Student 247, Male,
Grade 10, Year 1)
One time when I was playing, a random guy just talked to me. He said a bad word and I
just stopped playing [But] I didn’t feel nothing. (Student 037, Male, Grade 4, Year 1)
The following participant made an interesting distinction between a friend perpetrating
aggression and an unknown or anonymous person. The anonymity involved in incidents on
gaming platforms may contribute to participants’ perceptions of the impacts of cyberbullying.
I was playing a game and then someone might say somethingI dont really take that as
bullying because they don't really know me. So I dont really get hurt, unless they knew
me… then I would get hurt. Because that’s like a personal attack. (Student 887, Male,
Grade 10, Year 1)
Importantly, several participants indicated that these experiences may make them more
likely to behave aggressively, as the platform culture permitted or encouraged such actions. Or
they suggested more generally that being victimized could be a motivator of perpetration. This is
consistent with literature indicating a significant overlap between perpetrators and victims in
bullying and cyberbullying (Brooks et al., 2016).
Sometimes if I’m really angry about someone, maybe I say just some mean things about
someone. .. like when they play really, really, really bad on games, maybe I will say, ‘can
you stop, can you stop suiciding … it’s a first person shooting game so basically what
they do is just run to the enemy and they just kill him, so like a suicide… Yeah, ‘stop
playing badly. (Student 641, Male, Grade 10, Year 1)
In at least some cases, however, the aggression gaming contexts permitted was perceived
as a form of escapism from bullying and/or cyberbullying.
I play online games, because when I got bullied I’m angry, upset, so I play like certain
games, shoot people. And I know it’s fake but sometimes you can just make it real… it
releases your anger. (Student 511, Male, Grade 7, Year 1)
The influence of peers and/or role models on the decision-making of players to perpetrate
aggression was mentioned, which is consistent with research indicating the perceived support for
cyberbullying in the community is an important factor for the likelihood of aggression being
used as a tactic in gaming (Ballard & Welch, 2015). It also reinforces the role of social power
and influence in conflict in gaming contexts.
Some games, there could be a lot of swearing at people and then that person can be a role
modelsomeone asks them something, you could influence yourself to do some wrong
things to other people. (Student 154, Male, Grade 7, Year 1)
This study contributes to the limited research on gaming and cyberbullying (Fryling et
al., 2015), providing the prevalence of gaming among a sample of primary, middle, and
secondary school students, and highlighting the nature and impact of these experiences and their
relevance to the existing framework of cyberbullying . Regarding the nature of the aggression on
gaming platforms, the roles of social dominance and masculinity in relation to gaming culture
are important concepts to emphasize. Adherence to masculine norms often reinforces misogyny
and homophobia, and name-calling and taunting is used to fortify such norms among males
(Ballard & Welch, 2015). In a study of adolescents (11 17) by Collier et al. (2013), participants
(n = 513) who were male or LGBTQ reported they were more likely to be victims of
homophobic name-calling. As discussed above, name-calling and other forms of bullying based
on group differences serve a social function, reinforcing social hierarchies (Collier et al., 2013).
While participants in the current study did not explicitly discuss homophobia in gaming,
they discussed examples of masculine norms being a driver of aggressive behavior, such as
posturing and threats of physical harm. A study of 2560 adolescents in Spain found that
exhibiting socially masculine traits (i.e., dominance, aggression, seeking power and social
control) predicted perpetration of bullying regardless of gender. Both boys and girls with greater
socially masculine traits were more likely to be perpetrators (Morales et al., 2016). Evidence
consistently shows that boys are more likely to be the predominant perpetrators of physical
bullying (e.g., hitting, shoving) (Wang et al., 2015). On gaming platforms, a context dominated
by boys, participants’ responses indicate aggressive players are able to simulate physical
aggression and physical bullying behavior through their characters’ actions (e.g., repeatedly
dominating or killing other players’ characters). Importantly, this aggression exceeds what could
be considered typical gameplay in violent games (i.e., shooting or killing other players’
characters to meet game objectives). This distinctive performance of ‘offline’ bullying behaviors
in online contexts is interesting, and requires attention in future cyberbullying research.
In social contexts bullying focused on enforcing masculinity can be particularly prevalent
when individuals “perceive that male role models and peers are supportive of bullying” (Ballard
& Welch, 2015, p. 7). For many young males the perpetration of such behavior is often not
driven by the victim(s) actual or suspected sexuality, but rather, is motivated by attacks on
opponents’ masculinity being an effective tactic for social dominance which is generally
supported by peers (Ballard & Welch, 2015). Participants in this study indicated that the culture
of gaming platforms typically permitted or normalized aggressive behavior, and even encouraged
some participants to become more aggressive themselves.
Participants also indicated anonymity was a challenge, as many of the perpetrators were
strangers to them, and the anonymity of the gaming contexts limited the ability to respond to
cyberbullying. Technology makes perpetrators less identifiable. While victims of cyberbullying
may often know their perpetrators, other perpetrators may be strangers to their victims (Bartlett,
2015). Research by Sticca & Peeren (2013) found middle schoolers identified anonymous
bullying and cyberbullying as worse than bullying in which the perpetrators were known.
Cyberbullying which was anonymous was identified by students as the most severe form of
bullying. This is consistent with other research indicating anonymity may contribute to
particularly negative consequences (e.g., feeling more helpless) (Sticca & Peeren, 2013). This is
important to consider further in future research, given that participants indicated that perpetrators
in gaming contexts tended to be anonymous and/or strangers to their victims.
Anecdotal evidence exists, supported by this study’s qualitative findings, indicating that
children experiencing bullying victimization may use gaming as a form of escapism from
challenges or difficulties, including victimization. The tenuous connection between gaming and
bullying and/or cyberbullying has been hypothesized to be related to the cyclical nature of
bullying, as bully-victims (i.e., those who are both perpetrators and victims) are more common in
cyberbullying than offline bullying (Mishna, Khoury-Kassabri, Gadalla, & Daciuk, 2012; Brooks
et al., 2016). Conversely, gaming may permit emotional regulation because it helps… [youth] to
relax, forget their problems and to manage their anger (Brooks et al., 2016, p. 49), potentially
helping to mediate the impact of bullying. While escapism has been perceived as a negative
coping strategy, the emotional relief provided by escapism during the onset of stressful periods
may be important in facilitating perseverance and well-being for at least some populations of
youth (Craig, McInroy, McCready, & Alaggia, 2015). It is important to note, however, that this
is not in the context of hurting others (e.g., through perpetrating cyberbullying). The escapism
offered by gaming appears to have the potential for both positive outcomes (e.g., well-being) and
negative outcomes (e.g., cyberbullying), underscoring the need for more research which can
inform education and prevention and intervention strategies.
Implications for Social Work Research and Practice
Gaming has changed dramatically in the last decade, becoming increasingly complex,
diverse, realistic and social in nature” (Granic et al., 2014, p. 66). Gaming has the potential to
contribute to positive outcomes and well-being. Digital games are now utilized in many
educational and therapeutic contexts (Boyle et al., 2016; Brooks et al., 2016; Granic et al., 2014),
addressing issues such as exercise, rehabilitation, substance misuse, and problematic eating
behaviors (Boyle et al., 2016). A recent systematic review from 2009 2014 found indications of
positive outcomes associated with gaming focused on learning, including acquisition of
knowledge and positive affective, behavioral, and social outcomes. However, this trend of
incorporating gaming into professional and clinical environments requires caution. Games are
rarely thoroughly evaluated for efficacy, and significant gaps exist between design/mechanics
and intended outcomes (Granic et al., 2014).
Despite encouraging emerging findings regarding the potential of gaming to support
well-being, the risks of gaming contexts particularly for youth deserve further attention.
While the quantitative findings of this study indicate that the self-perceived experience of
cyberbullying in gaming contexts is relatively low, the qualitative findings add crucial nuance.
Participants did not consider many of their experiences of aggression in gaming contexts to be
cyberbullying, despite such behavior meeting the definitional research criteria including hostile
verbal, psychological, and relational dimensions (Mishna et al., 2016) and having a noticeable
impact on participants and their behavior (e.g., making them feel bad, causing them to turn off
games). These disconnects between definitions of cyberbullying by researchers and professional
practitioners (e.g., social workers, educators), and the perceptions and conceptualizations held by
youth are emerging in other research (Byrne et al., 2016), and could have influenced this study’s
quantitative findings.
These definitional differences have implications for professional practice, as social work
practitioners may have different understanding of cyberbullying and gaming than youth. Asking
youth about cyberbullying may not elicit accurate responses about online experiences due to
the youth not considering particular behaviors cyberbullying; it may be more effective to ask
generally about experiences of hostility or aggression online. Analysis of the parent study the
secondary data in this paper is drawn from has also begun to suggest that adults (e.g., parents,
teachers) often incorrectly assume that girls are more likely to engage in cyberbullying. This may
be because girls are online via social media platforms (Lenhart et al., 2015a), which are
increasingly used by individuals of all ages (Pew Research Center, 2013), potentially making
such cyberbullying more visible and comprehensible to adults. Moreover, gaming is not typically
included in the discourse on cyberbullying, so may be overlooked by adults. It is critical that
practitioners be aware both of the range of platforms on which cyberbullying occurs and of
cyberbullying as a significant issue among many diverse groups of youth, including boys who
are most active on gaming platforms (Common Sense, 2015; Lenhart et al., 2015a).
This paper uses data drawn from an overall study of bullying and cyberbullying. While
gaming was considered an important topic to inquire about when designing the data collection
tools, the data available limits the claims which can be made. Not all qualitative participants
discussed gaming, with more responses in the Year 1 interviews than the Year 3 interviews. This
difference is likely at least partially a consequence of attrition, as only 31 participants completed
interviews in Year 3. Participants who discussed their experiences of gaming in the qualitative
sample were nearly all boys. While this is consistent with the literature indicating they are more
likely to participate in gaming (Common Sense, 2015; Lenhart et al., 2015a), it prevents analysis
of the current climate of gaming for girls.
The purpose of this paper was to investigate the prevalence and experience of online
gaming among a diverse quantitative sample of students in the context of the rapid growth in
online participation, as well as the experience and impact of online gaming culture on a
qualitative sub-sample. Social Dominance Theory was used to understand the use of social
masculinity to maintain social hierarchies in gaming contexts. These findings begin to address a
gap in social work scholarship on cyberbullying and have implications for research and
professional practice. Gaming is increasingly popular, particularly among boys, and results
indicate that cyberbullying on gaming platforms is a concern worthy of further investigation.
Despite some participants’ claims that experiencing cyberbullying is not particularly impactful,
their actions in response to incidents indicate that these experiences may indeed effect youth
negatively. The many varied contexts of youths online experiences must be considered when
engaging in practice or undertaking research with this age group. Practitioners working with
children and youth who participate in gaming need to be aware of the potential impact of
exposure to these types of experiences on well-being. Researchers must recognize that individual
perception and/or definition of cyberbullying in different online contexts (e.g., girls interactions
on social media versus boys interactions via gaming) may play an important role in youths
perceptions and likelihood to describe their experiences as cyberbullying.
Compliance with Ethical Standards:
Funding: This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of
Canada (grant number 410-2011-1001).
Ethical approval: All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in
accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research and/or national research
committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable
ethical standards.
Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in
the study.
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Table 1: Demographics of Quantitative and Qualitative Samples
Quantitative (n=670)
Qualitative (n=57)
Asian East
Asian South
Asian South East
Black Africa
Black Canada
Black Caribbean
Latin American
Middle Eastern
Mixed Background
White Canada
White European
Dont Know
Table 2: Using Computer to Play Internet-Based Games
Quantitative (n=666)
Qualitative (n=57)
Once A Month
Once A Week
A Few Times A Week
Once A Day
More Than Once A Day
Table 3: Cyberbullying Involvement of Quantitative and Qualitative Samples
Virtual World Games
3 or 4 Times
Every Day
Not Applicable
Massive Multiplayer Online Games
3 or 4 Times
Every Day
Not Applicable
Internet-Enabled Console
3 or 4 Times
Every Day
Not Applicable
... Toxic behaviors in online gaming may include cheating, harassing players, or assisting the enemy team (Blackburn & Kwak, 2014; see a review of types and measurement in Table S1). Although toxic gaming behaviors generate frustration and anger in players (Kordyaka, 2018), and toxic interactions are associated with increased psychological distress, at least among some participants (TaeHyuk Keum & Hearns, 2021), toxicity is often considered an acceptable component of online games (Beres et al., 2021;McInroy & Mishna, 2017). ...
... Characteristics of the games may influence the frequency of toxic behaviors. Research shows that anonymity contributes to an aggressive culture in online gaming (Chen & Wu, 2015;McInroy & Mishna, 2017), perhaps due to the reduced empathy facilitated by lack of eye contact with other players (Lapidot-Lefler & Barak, 2012). ...
... Moreover, playing in large groups contributes to the sense of shared social identity, which can facilitate the spread of toxic behaviors among group members (Shen et al., 2020). Anonymity also contributes to the proliferation of aggressive behaviors in online gaming culture (Chen & Wu, 2015;McInroy & Mishna, 2017). ...
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The rapid proliferation of online multiplayer games has opened a new avenue for aggressive behaviors such as hostile communication, sabotaging, and griefing. The present investigation explores the prevalence, perception, risk factors, and consequences of victimization in toxic behaviors. A total of 2097 Hungarian gamers (88.5% male, M age = 26.2 years, SD = 6.8) completed an online questionnaire. Most (66%) were victims of such incidents in the past year, and gamers considered the problem of toxic behaviors as severe. Younger gamers who spent more time playing competitive videogames (especially multiplayer online battle arena and shooter games) were more likely to experience toxic behaviors from others. Repeatedly victimized gamers reported more symptoms of depression and problematic videogame use, while victim/perpetrators expressed higher anxiety and anger rumination. These results highlight the importance of cultivating prosocial group norms in gamers to improve safety of online multiplayer environments. Keywords: aggression, playing, toxic behaviors, videogames, victimization
... Okrem času stráveného na sociálnych médiách uvádzajú viacerí autori (Cho et al., 2019;Li, Pustaka, 2017;McInroy, Mishna, 2017) aj čas strávený hraním videohier ako jeden z faktorov, ktoré vedú k väčšej interakcii s druhými, čo môže viesť k tomu, že adolescenti sú vystavení väčšiemu množstvu negatívneho obsahu na internete, vrátane kyberšikanovania. D. Li a A. Pustaka (2017) píšu, že viac ako polovica adolescentných hráčov udáva, že prišli do kontaktu s kyberšikanovaním. ...
... Poslednou veľkou skupinou premenných, ktoré sme skúmali na základe predchádzajúcich zistení (Cho et al., 2019;Li, Pustaka, 2017;McInroy, Mishna, 2017) vo vzťahu ku kyberšikanovaniu, bolo používanie internetu a sociálnych sietí (koľko hodín si za minulých sedem dní strávil/a komunikovaním s inými na internete, napríklad cez sociálne siete ako Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, Instagram, Kik a pod.) a hranie videohier (koľko hodín si za minulých tridsať dní strávil/a hraním hier s inými ľuďmi za použitia počítača, tabletu, konzoly, smartfónu či iného elektronického prístroja). Skúmali sme pritom nielen frekvenciu počas dní školského vyučovania a počas víkendov/prázdnin, ale aj sebaposúdenie toho, ako respondenti vnímajú svoje trávenie času na internete a pri videohrách (myslím, že trávim príliš mnoho času na sociálnych sieťach, alebo mávam zlú náladu, keď nemôžem tráviť čas hraním hier). ...
The study examines bullying and cyberbullying among older school-age children – pupils of the 9th grade of primary schools and 1st – 4th grades of secondary schools of all types (four-year grammar schools; eight-year grammar schools; secondary vocational schools with and without school-leaving exam). Relationships with gender, school year, as well as parental and peer support were also examined. The study used data from the ESPAD 2019 project, the research sample consisted of 9338 adolescents. The authors present the results of an analysis of the prevalence of bullying and cyberbullying. Although statistically significant, the relationships between examined variables showed small substantive significance. In terms of differences between groups, boys are more affected by video shaming on the Internet, girls are more bullied on social networks; however, the differences are small in substantive significance. There were no differences between older and younger students.
... . Global Player Forecast 2015-2024 (Newzoo, 2021) Digital games especially affect children and adolescents (Griffiths, 1998;Homer et al., 2012). Studies show that especially males aged 10-19 have a higher tendency to play games uncontrolled and for a long time compared to females and other age groups (Griffiths et al. 2004;McInroy & Mishna, 2017). When individual factors are taken into account, men are at 2-3 times more risk of addiction than women (Lee et al., 2013). ...
... This can be expressed by the fact that game designers usually develop games by targeting males. In the literature, there are studies supporting this result(Bonannoa & Kommers, 2005;McInroy & Mishna, 2017;Li & Wang, 2013;Turner et al., 2012), as well as many studies that found no significance(Jang et al., 2008; Kim et al., 2008). However, recentInternational Conference on Humanities, Social and Education Sciences ...
Conference Paper
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Digital games are tools where individuals from all ages have fun, socialize, and spend time. They have positive effects as well as negative effects. One of the most notable negative effects is addiction. In general terms, digital game addiction is playing games without control. To that end, this study examines adolescents' digital game addictions by their digital game tendencies, gender, and gaming spending. In this direction, the research sample consists of a total of 191 adolescents, 90 female and 101 male. Descriptive statistics and independent samples t-tests were used in the data analysis. When the digital game-playing tendencies of adolescents are analyzed, it is concluded that the games are generally played on the smartphone, are in the battle royale type, and are played for entertainment purposes. Another result collected in the study is that the mean addiction score is statistically significantly higher for males than for females and for those who spend money on games compared to those who do not. The research results were discussed in relation to the studies in the literature, and suggestions were made.
... People under 25 years old who were exposed to cyberbullying are at risk twice as compared to other people [4,5]. Although most cyberbullying is attributed to social media, there are many other platforms where cyberbullying takes place, such as online gaming, cell phone services, websites, and other sharing platforms [6]. Moreover, cyberbullying can come in different formats, such as texts, images, videos, and audios. ...
... The second performance measure is precision (Pre) illustrated in Eq. (5) which is the ratio between the true classified normal samples and the total number of samples that are classified normal. The third performance measure is recall (Rec) illustrated in Eq. (6) which is the ratio between the true classified normal samples and the total number of normal samples. The fourth performance measure is the F1-measure (F1) illustrated in Eq. (7) which is the harmonic mean between recall and precision. ...
Full-text available
Due to the proliferation of internet-enabled smartphones, many people, particularly young people in Arabic society, have widely adopted social media platforms as a primary means of communication, interaction and friendship making. The technological advances in smartphones and communication have enabled young people to keep in touch and form huge social networks from all over the world. However, such networks expose young people to cyberbullying and offensive content that puts their safety and emotional well-being at serious risk. Although, many solutions have been proposed to automatically detect cyberbully-ing, most of the existing solutions have been designed for English speaking consumers. The morphologically rich languages-such as the Arabic language-lead to data sparsity problems. Thus, render solutions developed for another language are ineffective once applied to the Arabic language content. To this end, this study focuses on improving the efficacy of the existing cyberbullying detection models for Arabic content by designing and developing a Consensus-based Ensemble Cyberbullying Detection Model. A diverse set of heterogeneous classifiers from the traditional machine and deep learning technique have been trained using Arabic cyberbullying labeled dataset collected from five different platforms. The outputs of the selected classifiers are combined using consensus-based decision-making in which the F1-Score of each classifier was used to rank the classifiers. Then, the Sigmoid function, which can reproduce human-like decision making, is used to infer the final decision. The outcomes show the efficacy of the proposed model comparing to the other studied classifiers. The overall improvement gained by the proposed model reaches 1.3% comparing with the best trained classifier. Besides its effectiveness for Arabic language content, the proposed model can be generalized to improve cyberbullying detection in other languages.
... Social media were recognized early on as frequent outlets for cyberbullying [26] while cyberbullying in online gaming communities appears to be an understudied issue. There is a small number of studies that point to the existence of cyberbullying within gaming communities [27][28][29][30] and this phenomenon is associated with the toxic culture prevalent in a number of gaming communities [31,32] that persists despite the efforts from the game creators to reign it in [33]. This review aims to critically assess the published studies on the relationship between cyberbullying and IUD, and propose directions for further study. ...
Full-text available
Purpose of Review The purpose of this review is to critically assess the published studies on the relationship between cyberbullying and internet use disorder (IUD), and propose directions for further study. Recent Findings There were only four prospective studies out of thirty-two reviewed studies conducted since 2004, with only one prospective study conducted during the past 5 years. The field of study has been stagnant during the past 5 years with the vast majority of studies conducted on primary or secondary education and failing to address cyberbullying and IUD in social media and online gaming. Summary Cyberbullying and IUD have been described since the nineties, yet there are still significant issues with their definition and research. Lately, both these problematic behaviors are sharing the same environments in social media and online gaming. This critical appraisal of published research examined thirty-two published peer-reviewed studies carried out since 2004. Findings indicate a number of significant issues including an overreliance on cross-sectional study design, near-exclusive focus on primary and secondary education students, widespread employment of unstandardized measures for cyberbullying and IUD, and lack of assessment for objective measures of psychological distress. Directions for future research are offered.
... It is well known that cyberbullying is a detriment to wellbeing (Foody, McGuire, et al., 2020;Hinduja & Patchin, 2008) and interpersonal relationships (Foody, Samara, et al., 2020;Peled, 2019). Cyberbullying has been reported across various digital environments such as social networking sites (Dredge et al., 2014), messaging services (Kashy-Rosenbaum & Aizenkot, 2020), and online gaming environments (McInroy & Mishna, 2017). ...
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Adult fans of K‐Pop band BTS are part of a diverse and global fandom that has an evident psychological sense of community associated with psychosocial benefits such as increases in wellbeing. This study aimed to investigate if cyberbullying victimization plays an influential role in the relationship of BTS fans' psychological sense of community and wellbeing using an online co‐designed survey administered to 183 participants. There was a significant positive relationship found between psychological sense of community and wellbeing. The results of a moderation analysis were interpreted as cyberbullying victimization not having an influential role in this positive relationship, despite cyberbullying typically having detrimental effects on interpersonal relationships and communities generally. It was concluded that BTS fans' psychological sense of community may be buffering against the adverse consequences of cyberbullying victimization and/or competent anti‐cyberbullying and online safety practices are being carried out in online BTS fan communities. Implications for anti‐cyberbullying researchers and cyberbullying prevention efforts are also discussed.
... When it was evaluated in terms of gender, it was observed that the male students played online games more frequently than their female counterparts and differed from them. This finding was similar to the ones mentioned in the literature (Bekir and Yıldırım, 2018;Bekir and Çelik, 2019;Bekir, 2018;Ko et al., 2005;McInroy and Mishna, 2017). It was also found that playing Internet games was positively correlated with aggressiveness (Kim et al., 2008;Mehroof and Griffiths, 2010), but it was negatively correlated with controlling oneself (Kim et al., 2008). ...
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This study was carried out with the aim of determining the intermediate role of Internet gaming disorder in the relationship between cyber bullying/victimization and emotional intelligence in secondary school students. The study group was composed of 272 secondary school students, 147 males and 125 females. 45 of them were the 5th grade, 82 of them were the 6th grade, 61 of them were the 7th grade and 84 of them were the 8th grade students. The data of the study was collected via the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale, the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory Youth Version and the Revised Cyber Bullying/Victimization Inventory-II. In the study, the criterion sampling method, one of the sub-branches of the purposeful sampling method, one of the non-random sampling methods, was used. In this context, the research data was collected from the secondary school students playing Internet games. With the aim of testing the model related to the Internet gaming disorder, cyber bullying/victimization and emotional quotient, the AMOS 16 was used and the Path Analysis was applied. Moreover, the correlations and the descriptive statistics belonging to the variables were calculated via the SPSS 24 program. The relationships between the variables taken in hand in the study were calculated via the Pearson Correlation coefficient and the prediction levels were determined via the Path Analysis. Moreover, if the Internet gaming level differed according to gender and class level was examined via the independent samples t test.
... For example, for the younger generation settled into a common leisure culture, high game scores, rank, tier, etc. can be used as a measure for showing off and can also be linked to monetary rewards in the context of campus leagues and e-sports. For example, a study on adolescents' game culture and cyberbullying pointed out that "high game rank" in the context of game culture can be a potential motivating force to exercise dominance over others or to cause conflict (Ballard and Welch, 2015;McInroy and Mishna, 2017). Thus, gamers who are motivated to earn external rewards, such as honor or points, may be at higher risk of dishonest behavior than participants who want to maintain high self-esteem through mastery or fun of the game. ...
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Cheating, the act of winning in a competition based on unfair advantages over one’s opponents, often occurs in online games (e.g., illegal money exchange, account hacking, and exploiting a bug). With the recent flourishing of competitive tournament games online, such as League of Legends (LoL) and Overwatch, cheating has emerged as a serious problem since it not only promotes the de-socialization of gamers but also adversely affects game brands. However, there has little research on this issue in studies on competitive online games. Focused on three psychological factors (i.e., competitive motivation, self-esteem, and aggression), which has been reported to be primarily related to cheating in sports, this paper presents a study that empirically examined the associations between the factors and cheating in competitive online game environments. From survey data of 329 LoL gamers in South Korea, a structural equation model was analyzed. The results showed that gamers with a high degree of competitive motivation are more inclined to cheat in the game. Aggression increased cheating behavior and had a significant relationship with competitive motivation. Self-esteem decreased the degree of cheating but did not affect competitive motivation. Notably, gaming time negatively influenced cheating. The practical implications of these study results were discussed.
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Introduction: Online games addiction has been shown to cause changes to one's emotion and behaviour. Moreover, academic performance could be affected too. Therefore, this study aims to assess the relationship between game addiction, psychosocial effects and academic performance of undergraduate students in University of Cyberjaya (UoC). Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among undergraduate students of University of Cyberjaya (UoC), Cyberjaya, Selangor from 4 different faculties. Respondents were selected through a random sampling method and data has been collected through online form using validated questionnaires. Results: Overall prevalence of online games addiction was high among the age group of 20-24 years old (18.26%), Other ethnicity group (44.45%), and among male students (35.72%). Data analysed using chi square in this study has shown an association between online games addiction and psychosocial effects (p-value = <0.001) but no association between online games addiction and academic performance (p-value = 0.850). Conclusion: Students who were addicted to online games have been related to having psychosocial effects but association between gaming addiction and academic performance was not being carried out in this study. This might be due to other factors including level of intelligence and time spent on studying. We recommend that awareness campaigns on the influence of online gaming should be strengthened as a measure to reduce the prevalence of online games addiction and counselling to be given for those with early symptoms of psychosocial effects regardless of being addicted or not.
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Background: While the online environment may promote important developmental and social benefits, it also enables the serious and rapidly growing issue of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying constitutes an increasing public health problem - victimized children and youth experience a range of health and mental health concerns, including emotional and psychosomatic problems, maladaptive behaviors, and increased suicidality. Perpetrators demonstrate a lack of empathy, and may also struggle with health and mental health issues. Objective: This paper describes the protocols applied in a longitudinal and multi-perspective mixed-methods study with five objectives: (1) to explore children/youth's experiences, and children/youth's, parents', and teachers' conceptions, definitions, and understanding of cyberbullying; (2) to explore how children/youth view the underlying motivations for cyberbullying; (3) to document the shifting prevalence rates of cyberbullying victimization, witnessing, and perpetration; (4) to identify risk and protective factors for cyberbullying involvement; and (5) to explore social, mental health, and health consequences of cyberbullying. Methods: Quantitative survey data were collected over three years (2012-2014) from a stratified random baseline sample of fourth (n=160), seventh (n=243), and tenth (n=267) grade children/youth, their parents (n=246), and their teachers (n=103). Quantitative data were collected from students and teachers during in-person school visits, and from parents via mail-in surveys. Student, parent, and teacher surveys included questions regarding: student experiences with bullying/cyberbullying; student health, mental health, and social and behavioral issues; socio-demographics; and information and communication technology use. In-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted twice with a sub-sample of students (n=57), purposively selected based on socio-demographics and cyberbullying experience, twice with their parents (n=50), and once with their teachers (n=30). Results: Data collection for this study is complete. Planned analyses include transition probabilities and repeated measures analyses to determine involvement in cyberbullying. Repeated measures analyses, including between-subject factors (eg, socio-demographics), will be utilized to determine factors that protect or increase risk of involvement in cyberbullying. Qualitative analysis utilizing grounded theory is planned, to permit rich understanding of participant experiences and perspectives. Results will be reported in 2016 and 2017. Conclusions: This study will offer insight into the contemporary phenomenon of cyberbullying while also informing interventions to curb cyberbullying and address its pervasive social, mental health, and health consequences. Knowledge mobilization strategies and implications for research and practice are discussed.
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Social dominance theory This chapter outlines the intellectual and personal influences on the development of social dominance theory (SDT). SDT examines how societies organize themselves as group-based social hierarchies. SDT assumes that processes at different but intersecting levels of social organization, from prejudice to cultural legitimizing ideologies, produce and maintain hierarchical societal structure. The chapter examines the counteracting roles of hierarchy-enhancing and hierarchy-attenuating legitimizing ideologies and social institutions, the intersection between gender and arbitrary set discrimination (i.e., discrimination based on socially constructed group distinctions), the distinction between authoritarianism and social dominance orientation, and emphasizes the critical role of social power (as opposed to social status), and the need to see social dominance as an integrated and dynamic social system. Stated most simply, social dominance theory (SDT) argues that intergroup oppression, discrimination, and prejudice are the means by which human societies organize themselves as group-based hierarchies, in which members of dominant ...
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The aim of the present research was to examine adolescents’ definitions of bullying in a nationally representative sample of adolescents in Ireland. Definitions of bullying were examined according to age, gender, and bullying experiences. A sample of 4358 adolescents aged 12–19 years (M = 14.99 years, SD = 1.63) provided their definitions of bullying as part of the My World Survey-Second Level. The definitions were explored using content analysis. Adolescents differed in terms of their definition of bullying, with younger students frequently describing the nature of bullying as mean, while older students displayed a heightened awareness of the feelings associated with being a victim of bullying. Older females and those who had experienced bullying were more likely to discuss the emotions associated with bullying compared to males and those who had not been bullied. Adolescent definitions of bullying were not in line with widely accepted researcher definitions. Recommendations are made for researchers and those designing anti-bullying interventions and educational programmes.
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The geographies of the current generation of young people are markedly distinct from previous generations by virtue of their access to a virtual playground. The vast majority of young people now engage in video gaming as a leisure activity. Drawing on findings from the 2009/2010 WHO Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study this paper set out to investigate the factors that might be associated with higher levels of video gaming. Information was collected from 4404 school students aged 11, 13 and 15 years, using anonymised self-completed questionnaires. Higher usage was defined as game play exceeding two hours a day. Separate analyses were conducted for boys and girls. For both genders higher levels of game playing was associated with early adolescence, opposite sex friends and minimal parental mediation. Bullying and going to bed hungry were associated with higher usage for boys only, while life satisfaction and family activities were linked to girls’ game playing only. Parents were identified as effective mediators of young people’s video game usage. The study identified gendered motivations for higher levels of game play, suggesting different interventions for boys and girls may be required in order for young people to create a balanced approach to video gaming.
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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth have the potential for considerable resilience. Positive media representations may mediate negative experiences and foster self-esteem, yet the relationship between resilience and both traditional offline and new online media remains underaddressed for this population. This grounded-theory exploration of media-based resilience-building activities by LGBTQ youth (n = 19) indicated four themes that media use enabled: coping through escapism; feeling stronger; fighting back; and finding and fostering community. Data are embedded to evidence thematic findings and incorporate participant voices. The importance of considering the media within contemporary LGBTQ youth's ecological framework to capture their resilience is considered.
Continuing interest in digital games indicated that it would be useful to update Connolly et al.'s (2012) systematic literature review of empirical evidence about the positive impacts and outcomes of games. Since a large number of papers was identified in the period from 2009 to 2014, the current review focused on 143 papers that provided higher quality evidence about the positive outcomes of games. Connolly et al.'s multidimensional analysis of games and their outcomes provided a useful framework for organising the varied research in this area. The most frequently occurring outcome reported for games for learning was knowledge acquisition, while entertainment games addressed a broader range of affective, behaviour change, perceptual and cognitive and physiological outcomes. Games for learning were found across varied topics with STEM subjects and health the most popular. Future research on digital games would benefit from a systematic programme of experimental work, examining in detail which game features are most effective in promoting engagement and supporting learning.
GamerGate, the online hate campaign that violently threatened and harassed prominent feminists in gaming, claimed that feminists were destroying gaming culture through their alleged influence on game journalists and industry professionals. We position GamerGate as an incendiary reaction to the changing (no longer overwhelmingly white, cisgender, heterosexual and male specifically) demographic of game players. We argue that GamerGate supporters operated under a false binary of identity: either one is a true gamer (male, masculine), or one is a feminist woman trying to be a gamer. Yet myriad intersectional identities continue to queer game space, and we propose that the hate campaign #GamerGate is an acknowledgement of and reaction to this queering of game spaces, not just feminist criticism. Tweets using anti-GamerGate hashtags, such as #INeedDiverseGames evidence the many identities that came together in solidarity, resisting GamerGate harassment. To examine the resistive solidarity of anti-GamerGate backlash, we draw upon feminist, queer, social movement, social media, and gaming literatures to cultivate a theory of nonbinary coalition, and argue that this is a tool for agents of change in gaming culture.