Bullying exists everywhere around us, and the internet is rampant with it. Hiding behind a monitor and keyboard makes it easier to for bullies to retain their anonymity without having to face responsibility for their actions. Sometimes it can be a single individual, but it can also include a group of others, with debilitating consequences that leave the victim feeling isolated, anxious or depressed, amongst many other feelings.
"Since I can remember, I've been gaming on the internet, and one of my favorite hobbies includes playing MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), where a group of thousands of players often come together to play this same game. It can be one of the most incredible sources of stress relief and relaxation for so many, full of epic battles and intense, breath-taking graphics, a beautiful soundtrack and a wonderful place to meet people who share the same passion and enthusiasm you do for the gaming world.
What can be exciting and fun, thrilling adventures in fantasy lands and cartoon creations, can also be toxic and overwhelming when surrounded by the wrong crowd, however. It can become emotionally draining, and exhausting to one's mental health, when met with the wrong group of people. In my particular experience, the majority of people I've encountered in the gaming community seem to be pretty nice; the casual player being just that, going about their own business. Now and then you'll run into someone who's obviously having a bad day, or rather toxic, but it's not too bad normally.
But in some cases, an aggressive individual will pop up and make themselves known by insulting and verbally abusing others, often with seemingly no provocation necessary, or purpose, other than a desire to hurt others. In one particular instance, I witnessed several individuals verbally (through text, that is) ganging up against another player, and bullying them simply because their playing style different from what was considered 'normal' by other gamers' standards. The victim of this cyber bullying attack eventually signed off. On the surface, it looked like a relatively small incident - a mere scuffle, most likely due to some sort of internal dispute between friends, I assumed. But in reality, I had just witnessed a verbal, cyber bullying assault, and the victim who was sitting behind the screen of that computer was in emotional turmoil from it. She wasn't particularly well versed at playing the warrior character she had made in the game, but she had fun playing it, and because her play-style differed from that of how others thought she should play, they ridiculed and made fun of her for it, blaming her for the entirety of the loss of the battleground game they were playing within the game. Not only was this humiliating for her, but it was harassing behavior with deliberate intention to cause harm. This is just one example, though, where there are many," -Aiden
Cyberbullying can occur anywhere on the internet, from social media platforms, to forums, websites and chat rooms. We see it all around us, every day, often so accustomed to seeing insults and accusations, judgments against other users, that we've become desensitized to it, or have normalized it as just another unfortunate part of living in our modern day technological society.
However, having adjusted to the continued exposure to witnessing cyber-bully abuse doesn't mean that you simply have to tolerate it if it happens to you. In fact, there are several ways in which you can avoid this behavior, if you should find yourself in a situation where it's occurring.
But it doesn't have to be this way. You shouldn't have to live in fear of speaking your own thoughts and opinions, or playing a game the way you want to, with concern that they might be met with hatred and ridicule. Be kind to others, as you would at the workplace, or school, and help to put an end to cyber bullying. Remember that the person you're chatting with, wherever location they may be, logged into this world wide web, they're also a person. They have thoughts and feelings of their own, like you, even if you can't see them face to face. But no one has the right to be mean to others, and harassment, or abusive behavior shouldn't have to be tolerated. It's not acceptable or okay, no matter who a person doing it is. Remember that you have options if you're the victim of bullying, and that there are many rules, and processes in place to help, even laws in certain countries and states that have been made to protect you from online bullying. Don't hesitate to familiarize yourself with your country's (or state's) cyberbullying and harassment laws. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect, and free from abuse.