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YGAM tackles abuse and harassment of women in new report

a charity based in the United Kingdom Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust submitted a report to MPs on the abuse and harassment of female gamers.

Sent to Multi-party Parliamentary Group on Video Games and Esports The report emphasizes young women's experiences while playing online video games, aiming to raise awareness and address ways to "prevent sexual harassment and misogyny in games."

In addition, the report documents some disturbing examples of behavior they encountered online.

Dehenna Davison MP, APPG member for video games and e-sports, is a regular player and has been since a young age. Welcoming the report, she noted: "Although you may think they are only for young boys, video games are really for everyone. I started playing with my dad as a four-year-old and since then I've seen the industry change dramatically."

"With the rise of online gaming, unfortunately the level of online abuse has also increased, and it's especially bad if you're female. I've lost count of how many times I've heard a group of teenagers on headphones moaning because they didn't want a girl on their COD team. We all need to be better at dealing with this problem and calling out any abuse to make sure everyone feels safe when playing."

The report makes three key recommendations, based on the charity's mission: "To 'inform, educate and protect' young people from the harms associated with gaming and gambling. These are:

  • Inform parents about young people's behaviour when playing.
  • Educate boys at a young age about rape culture and discrimination and the impact these words can have when spoken during online games.

    Protect women players and create a safe environment where victims of sexual harassment are supported.

The report was inspired by a roundtable meeting organised by the charity's parent engagement programme as part of the new Let's Talk Games Campaign.

YGAM joined a small group of academics and female gamers who have spoken out on the issues facing women in the online gaming industry, including Dr. Sarah Hays, American psychologist and activist for queer women of e-sports.

The report said gaming companies are aware that misogyny and sexual harassment are happening on virtual platforms, and are taking steps to confront the problem.

Approaches to the problem differ; Call of Duty, which has banned more than 06, accounts for toxic behavior last year implemented new technology to filter out potentially offensive text chats, while Counter-Strike allows the user to kick the person out of the game.

Most game developers also have a zero-tolerance policy towards actions that could be considered abusive. YGAM noted that the report may be a "good place to start" in recommending key actions that can be taken, particularly in terms of education, to ensure the problem is addressed.

Katie Tarrant, manager of student journalism at YGAM, who conceived and produced the report, commented: "We wanted 'She Plays, He Talks' to convey an inherent dynamic that we've been told exists in the online gaming community: what is often a form of escapism or a skilled hobby for young women is too often ruined by a few words from male gamers.

"Gathering this evidence has reinforced my belief that education is the way forward in tackling misogyny and abuse directed at women. I hope that this report will go some way to ensuring that the need for education is recognised by parliament."

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