Style/ Beauty

Half Of Female Gamers Face Abuse

A new report has shed light on the online abuse faced by female gamers in the UK, indicating that one in two (49%) have experienced hateful messages – in a survey of 4,000 women who game online. In the majority of these cases 80% the abuse is of a sexual nature, while over a third (35%) have faced violent messages.

The disturbing statistics, published this week, shed light on another space where women face discrimination, with over half (52%) of women involved in online gaming saying the threat of abuse makes them worried about using gaming platforms, and 27% worry about a real-life follow-up to the threats they’ve faced in the virtual world. Over one in 10 (11%) claim they’ve felt suicidal as a result of the abuse.

The latest research forms part of a campaign- conducted by Sky Broadband in partnership with Guild Esports – aims to raise awareness of this gendered issue. The campaign is affiliated with the hashtag #NoRoomForAbuse, with female gamers being urged to share their own experiences using the tag. Its release coincides with an ongoing debate over the Online Safety Bill, a proposed set of new laws designed to improve internet safety with a special provision for women and girls.

While the ‘online gamer’ stereotype might once have been a teenage boy, the sector’s demographic has experienced a tide change in recent years. Last year, separate research commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau found that women now account for 52% of the gaming industry. The gaming population of the UK, meanwhile, currently stands at 33.5 million Brits – 69% of the total population – meaning a potential 17.4 million women are affected by this online abuse threat.

This is not going unnoticed by their male gaming counterparts: according to the #NoRoomForAbuse campaign research, half (51%) of male gamers have witnessed women being harassed online during live streams, with 71% claim to have stepped in to intervene.

Stephanie Ijoma, a consultant and founder of gaming & entertainment company NNESSAGA, has partnered with the #NoRoomForAbuse campaign creators. In a statement she says: “As women, especially coming from an unrepresented background, the abuse we receive on a daily basis is simply unacceptable which is why campaigns like this are so important to challenge the gaming community to become part of the change. It’s crucial that we work together in making the online gaming world safer for women as there is absolutely no room for abuse.”

YouTuber and presenter Elz the Witch, another spokesperson, adds: “I’m proud to be part of this campaign which is shining a light on the real challenges women that play or stream games online face – which is often worse for women from racially diverse backgrounds. It’s hugely important that we not only raise awareness but encourage real action – there must be allyship for change to happen.”

Those experiencing abuse can visit to download helpful information about staying safe online, and how to be an ally to all gamers.

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