Online sexual harassment of women may have longer-lasting effects than other forms of online abuse, according to a study published in New Media & Society.
According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, 6% of Internet users report being sexually harassed. While men are slightly more likely to experience name-calling, women face significantly higher rates of sexual harassment.
Several high-profile cases have drawn attention to the problem of online sexual harassment—particularly rape threats—some women face. In 2014, so-called Gamergate harassers targeted female game developers on Twitter and other social media websites, making death and rape threats and enlisting the assistance of thousands of online harassers.
The Effects of Online Sexual Harassment of Women Gamers
The study surveyed 293 female video game players. Participants had an average age of 26, and they averaged 13 hours of online game play each week. Researchers asked about general harassment, such as name-calling and other forms of “trash-talking” that can be common on video games. They also surveyed participants about their experience with sexual harassment.
Players easily dismissed generalized insults after the game ceased, but sexual harassment was harder for them to stop thinking about offline. Not only did this harassment upset them more than other abuse; it also continued to upset them even when the game ended.
Although players did not seem to believe gaming companies should stop general harassment, they did blame those companies for inadequate efforts to end sexual harassment. Women who thought companies did not do enough were more likely to quit playing altogether.
Jesse Fox, a communications professor at The Ohio State University and the study’s lead author, said women players understand the culture of insults that often surrounds game play, but being targeted solely because of their sex is a different matter that leaves many women frustrated with gaming companies.
- Duggan, M. (2014, October 22). Online harassment. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/10/22/online-harassment/
- Fox, J., & Tang, W. Y. (2016). Women’s experiences with general and sexual harassment in online video games: Rumination, organizational responsiveness, withdrawal, and coping strategies. New Media & Society. doi:10.1177/1461444816635778
- Why sexual harassment is worse than other types of abuse online. (2016, March 22). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160322161657.htm
© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.