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[Ed. Note: When I looked this over, I immediately thought “this is familiar …” It sounded like something Kindra had spoken on before so I searched through her past articles, but I clearly did not look not far enough. Here is a link to the article in which she discusses why the proposed conclusions and methodology of the discussed study below gives flawed at best results. Both myself and Georgina apologize and promise to do better in the future. We’ll definitely be more thorough in the future.]

The latest study to come out on sexual harassment in online competitive gaming has discovered that players are more likely to sexually harass females in online games if the players are poorly skilled at the game in question, whereas skilled players are more likely to be extremely encouraging and complimentary of their female counterparts.

Harassment in online gaming is often discussed, though the forms of harassment differ between genders. According to a PEW study that was released last year, men are more likely to be called names or physically threatened, while women are more likely to receive sexual harassment or stalking. Sexual harassment online though is still fairly uncommon. On the Internet as a whole only 7% of women experience sexual harassment and just 4% of men, according to the PEW study.

This study looked at over 150 players interactions in Halo 3. It was suggested that during the period of observation women made up the vast minority of players. It is not known how many females participated outside of the study participant, but of 189 players who spoke during the recorded period, all were male.  In this male dominated environment, skilled male players were more likely to be encouraging and helpful to the female player, and  the majority of sexual harassment towards the female player was carried out by unskilled male players who were forced to be submissive to more skilled male players.

Halo 3 was chosen as a platform as players wear armor in game and therefore their gender is more difficult to be assumed by their avatar. Instead, gender was mostly determined by the voice of the player.  

The researchers suggested that the reason for this use of aggression by unskilled male players was due to the general societal pressure on men to be the “hunter gather” and in general to show skill and prowess. A failure to be able to do so can lead male players to demonstrate aggression.

So if you want to be aggressive online at least now you know you need to git gud.

What do you think of these latest findings?


Georgina Young

Contributor

British girl, currently in Japan. Surviving on a diet of retro games. Worshiping the god that is the Sega Megadrive. I like Nintendo.