Despite all the challenges facing society as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, there is still a silver lining. With the whole family stuck at home, there is a far greater opportunity for supervision over kids’ activities online.
The recent rise in cyberbullying and general online toxicity has been well documented. However, concerned parents can still use their physical presence to keep an eye on the content their children are exposed to. At some point, the coronavirus crisis will come to an end. That day will be undoubtedly celebrated, but it means the increase in online toxicity will no longer be checked by parental supervision.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the danger of the toxicity spreading on platforms frequented by children, specifically on gaming platforms.
It’s Not All Fun & Games
Online gaming can provide much needed interaction, especially during this period of social isolation. But there are also challenges that come with it, like cyberbullying and online predators. Especially for children, online gaming platforms require constant attention.
The appeal of online gaming is easy to understand. It offers an escape from reality into a simulated world where none of the struggles and frustrations of real life bear any weight. Anonymity in gaming can be both a blessing and a curse. It can allow people to say whatever is on their minds, but it also emboldens people to say and do hurtful things that they might not do if their real identities were on display.
Take the story of Bailey Mitchell, a sixteen-year-old gamer, who reported that he had experienced bullying while playing online games since the age of 10 – some of which even took the form of explicit death threats.
“If you’re going to school every day and you’re being bullied in school you want to go home to your computer to escape,” he said. “It’s regular, every other game you’re in, there’s always someone who has a mic or types in chat. They’ll call you every random abusive thing they can think of.”
But being bullied is only one of the risks involved in gaming. Online predators also use the anonymity and the built-in messaging service of many gaming platforms to attempt to build relationships and groom potential victims. This can involve inappropriate messages, webcam chats or even physical meetings.
When games have limited messaging capabilities, or regulate content in their in-game chat, many gamers turn to Discord instead. Discord is a free voice, video and text chat app created specifically for gamers. It is immensely popular, having amassed over 25 million users since its launch. It can be accessed via computer, tablet, or mobile phone and allows users to invite others into chat groups to discuss gameplay in real-time by voice, text or video.
Despite having good intentions, Discord has become known as a potentially hostile environment for many gamers. One of the issues with Discord is its lack of content regulation.
For example, The Irish Times reported a story in which a mother found disturbing images on the Discord account of her 13 year old son. He had been using Discord to play Minecraft and Fortnite, games which are generally age-appropriate for young teens.
Preparing For Tomorrow
As we mentioned, the coronavirus outbreak has offered parents an opportunity for heightened supervision over their kids’ online activities. We demonstrated how the dangers that lurk behind many gaming platforms will remain after coronavirus ends, but this time without the protective blanket of parental oversight. This problem demands a solution.
L1ght is that solution.
L1ght offers cutting-edge real-time safeguards against bullying, predators and online toxicity found in gaming platforms online. Harnessing the power of deep learning and AI, L1ght can be embedded in any number of social platforms, gaming services, or ISPs to provide safe and fun gaming – and online activities in general – for all.
To hear more about how L1ght is fighting online toxicity, get in touch.