Almost two thirds of young gamers experience harassment, says study

The study also connects workplace harassment in the industry to who ends up playing those titles

An Anti Defamation League (ADL) study has found that almost two thirds of young people who participate in gaming have “experienced harassment” whilst playing games online.

The study, titled “Hate is No Game: Harassment and Positive Social Experiences in Online Games 2021”, says that at least 62 per cent of people aged 13-17 have experienced harassment while gaming. The study itself, as reported by The Gamer (thanks, GamingBible) is from a “representative sample” of the 97million Americans that play online games.

In collaboration with Newzoo, a data analytics firm that focuses on video games and esports, the ADL study sampled 2,206 people, 542 of which were children aged 13-17. The study also found that the harassment came from in-match voice and text chat, alongside gameplay (as players would throw matches, or block others etc).


Some of the top games associated with the issues are Valorant, Call Of Duty, Fortnite, Dota 2, and Roblox.

Valorant Killjoy
Killjoy’s Nanoswarm ability. Credit: Riot Games

The study does also note that “at least 87 per cent of players in every game of this report had some positive in-game social experiences” as well. Whilst these numbers seem to drop by a few percent over the 2020 report by the ADL on gaming, some high ranking titles still have reports of over 90 per cent in regards to “positive social experiences.”

“Despite public consternation about these games’ relationships to gun violence and morality,” says the study, “a significant number of players had meaningful positive social experiences in online multiplayer shooters. They make friends, learn about themselves and others, and find community.”

Some of the most positive social games include Madden NFL, Minecraft, and even some of the games with more negative reports. The study still notes that “players either exercised more caution or stopped playing each of these games as a result of harassment.”

In what the study dubs a reckoning for gaming and the games industry, comparison is brought between the levels of harassment in-game, and the ongoing issues surrounding workplace harassment in development. “We advise readers to think about our report within this context. We are hopeful that public and internal pressure will force games companies to confront the spread of hate and harassment in their workplaces and in their games,” the ADL states.


In other news, the online BlizzCon 2022 event has been cancelled amid the ongoing lawsuits at Activision Blizzard to make the event “safe, welcoming, and inclusive.”