How to avoid abusive online gamers

Too many gamers have come to expect and accept offensive behaviour online but, as recent tweaks to some games demonstrate, players’ behaviour can be modified

Good sport … Blizzard Entertainment reports that abusive chat went down by up to 30% after it introduced new features to its shooter Overwatch. Photograph: Blizzard

Good sport … Blizzard Entertainment reports that abusive chat went down by up to 30% after it introduced new features to its shooter Overwatch. Photograph: Blizzard

Games culture is struggling with a pervasive lie: that it’s simply not possible to stop players from behaving like abusive jerks.

Log in to any online game or popular stream and there is a good chance you’ll run into hostility, trash talk and aggression from strangers over voice or text chat. As it does everywhere online, this hostility disproportionately affects the marginalised: women, people of colour, LGBT people. The common use of slurs and other demeaning language creates an unwelcoming space.

It is certainly not an easy problem to solve, but neither is it an inevitability we have to live with. When game developers choose to prioritise the issue, they can have a highly positive impact.

The Overwatch league grand finals in New York in July. Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP

After a long struggle with toxicity, Blizzard Entertainment recently introduced endorsements and “looking for group” features to its shooter Overwatch. The former allows players to commend one another for teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership, while the latter means they can avoid random assignment and form balanced teams.

Blizzard subsequently reported that abusive chat was down by between 15% and 30%. Still far from perfect, it is nonetheless proof that encouraging good behaviour works and, more broadly, that there are measures companies can take to make their communities less abusive and more welcoming.

Not long after, Ubisoft implemented instant half-hour suspensions of the accounts of Rainbow Six Siege players if they were detected typing slurs into chat. A second offence leads to a two-hour suspension, and a third leads to an official investigation that may result in a permanent ban.

Researcher Kat Lo studies online harassment and community moderation, and says that these steps make her “feel very hopeful”. Though it’s not yet clear how Rainbow Six Siege’s new system has impacted the game, she explains that having clear consequences for harmful behaviour: “sends a message to the community that the developers are taking measures to instil less toxic community norms, and most importantly that they’re willing to enforce those expectations.”

Redrawing the battle lines … Rainbow Six Siege, whose developer, Ubisoft, implemented temporary suspensions for players detected using offensive slurs. Photograph: AP

Setting clear boundaries and sticking to them is especially important while there are still high-profile players attempting to defend behaviour such as using homophobic slurs during livestreams. Simply knowing what is unacceptable can make a huge difference to the actions of community members. For example, in a talk at 2017’s Game UX Summit, Twitch data scientist Ruth Toner described how channels that require people to read and agree to their code of conduct see markedly lower instances of toxicity.

“A common understanding of fighting toxicity in games is that it primarily involves suppressing toxic language or behaviour,” Lo tells me. “However, as companies are working more closely with community managers and player behaviour researchers, we’re finding that more effective approaches involve fostering norms that sustain healthy environments that are, crucially, resilient to toxic individuals or toxic spikes in the community.”

In other words, actions such as those taken by Blizzard and Ubisoft can have a positive knock-on effect. “When toxic behaviour is less tolerated, more players in turn are able to be present and active in the maintenance of healthier cultures in these games,” says Lo.

However, despite awareness of the issue and established steps that can be taken to tackle it, games companies are often slow to react. It was 16 months before Overwatch’s developer announced it had reassigned developers to work on the toxicity question, and 10 months after that that the features were implemented. When Overwatch was released in 2016, console players didn’t even have the option to report abusive behaviour.

The anti-toxicity measures being rolled out now are not new ideas. Famously, Riot Games introduced League of Legends’ “Honor” system in 2012, allowing players to praise one another for teamwork, positivity and strategy. And in 2015, Lead Game Designer of Social Systems Jeffrey Lin wrote about the success of the game’s Tribunal system, which gave players an opportunity to vote on what behaviours were unacceptable and punish offenders accordingly. “Verbal abuse has dropped by more than 40%, and 91.6% of negative players change their act and never commit another offence after just one reported penalty. These results have inspired us, because we realise that this isn’t an impossible problem after all,” Lin wrote.

Gamers playing League of Legends, which has seen verbal abuse drop by 40% since it introduced an honour system. Photograph: Anthony Anex/EPA

There’s still a stubborn perception in the games community that online abuse is just a fact of life – or worse, that dishing it out is an integral part of enjoying a game – and that anyone bothered by it needs to grow thicker skin or stop playing all together. These assertions are constantly used to rebuff those who want to speak out about their experiences, which only helps abusive players to be tolerated.

But Lo sees things changing: “Dealing with toxic game chats doesn’t seem quite as impossible as it used to, in many ways because of the research coming out of recent anti-toxicity measures by game companies. Decisive and contextually sensitive moderation alongside the proactive development of community norms is increasingly how we’re seeing effective, sustainable ways to fight toxicity in gaming.”

The actions of Blizzard, Ubisoft and others are only the tip of the iceberg. But they demonstrate some approaches to the necessary task of tackling abuse, and their successes ought to put an end to the lie that there is nothing that can be done. Change is possible, but it requires a dedicated, ongoing effort.

Michael Crider is a veteran technology journalist with a decade of experience. He spent five years writing for Android Police and his work has appeared on Digital Trends and Lifehacker. He’s covered industry events like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Mobile World Congress in person. Read more.

How to avoid abusive online gamers

A wise man once said that a normal person, plus anonymity, plus an audience, equals…well, something we can’t reprint on a family-friendly website. But the tendency for anonymous crowds to be abusive is well-known, and adding in the competitive nature of online multiplayer games doesn’t help things.

If you’ve found yourself harassed by abusive players, there are a few things you can do to make your online games less frustrating. Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely inoculate yourself from abusive gamers…aside from staying offline altogether. But you can at least try to have a better time with these tips.

Don’t Be a Jerk

How to avoid abusive online gamers

Okay, this seems like fairly obvious advice: any reasonable person knows that being mean to other people is a good way to get them to be mean right back. But you know who wouldn’t consider not being a jerk to deter other jerks? That’s right, a jerk. So for the sake of completeness, we’ll remind you that the golden rule still applies to online games: treat others the way you want to be treated. Yes, even if they’re Hanzo mains.

Don’t Engage

The number one thing that an abusive player wants to get from his or her interactions is attention. Therefore, the one thing you shouldn’t do when you’re actively being harassed is respond in any way.

How to avoid abusive online gamers

This is harder than it sounds. If someone is being obnoxious or stupid, or hurling racist or sexist abuse at you, a desire to quip right back and shame them into silence is natural. Don’t do it. Remember that this person is gaining some kind of satisfaction from abusing anonymous strangers—there’s very probably nothing you could say, however correct or justified, that would stop them or change their mind. On the contrary, any kind of response is only going to encourage them to keep up the abuse.

How to avoid abusive online gamers

Remember, everyone in the current game is there because they want to be playing. In this exchange, you have the ultimate trump card: the power to leave it at any time.

Block and Mute

Most multiplayer games with either text or voice chat have some kind of function that allows you to mute individual players. Some go even further, allowing you to either block the player from being paired with you in any game, or to simply turn off text and voice chat for everyone by default, leaving communication limited to in-game character messages like “group up” or “nice job.”

How to avoid abusive online gamers

Blocking or muting a single player is preferable to blocking everyone, of course—most multiplayer games are vastly improved by communication and teamwork. But if regular voice or text interactions with other players is affecting your ability to enjoy the game, don’t hesitate to simply do away with it.

Report Them

How to avoid abusive online gamers

Most games with a managed multiplayer element have a report option. Don’t be afraid to use it. If a player is being legitimately abusive, there’s no reason not to tell on them. Some developers have an iffy track record with actually policing their games, but if multiple reports show a player is constantly toxic to others to the point of impacting their ability to enjoy the game, they’ll usually make use of their administrative powers and issue some sort of punishment. These can range from “time out” restrictions, including revoked communication privileges or mode access, all the way to a lifetime account ban.

Play With Friends

How to avoid abusive online gamers

If you already know all the people on your multiplayer team, you remove the anonymous element of online abuse. For that reason, it’s a good idea to play with friends as often as possible. They needn’t be people you know in real life, either—frequent teammates on your Friends List or even just members of the same in-game guild can raise the sociable expectation of the virtual room. It’s usually enough to deter people who would normally be insulting or abusive with strangers.

Choose the Right Game Mode

This is a surprisingly big one that many players don’t think about: it’s important to pick the game mode that’s right for the kind of atmosphere you’re looking for. If you want to play a game casually, avoid the more competitive servers or game sections. This goes double if the game has a dedicated “Pro” or “Ranked” mode, where the rewards are permanent status changes or worldwide leaderboard positions. Shooters like Counter-Strike and MOBAs like League of Legends are notorious for this kind of high-pressure, stressful communication.

How to avoid abusive online gamers

Where possible, choose a game mode that pits multiple players against computer opponents or some other non-player challenge. These modes are generally referred to as player-versus-environment or PvE. Not all games have them, but those that do tend to be much less competitive and stressful than standard multiplayer or ranked matches.

The Nuclear Option: Try Another Game

If at any time the social element of a game is upsetting to you, remember, you can always quit. And if interactions with other players are causing the game to no longer be fun, that’s probably what you should do. After all, if you’re not enjoying your time playing a game, what’s the point?

How to avoid abusive online gamers

Keep in mind that there are hundreds of new games for each console released every year, and thousands on the PC. Odds are fairly good that you can find a more enjoyable game, with a more enjoyable community of players, with which to spend your time.

A wise man once stated that a regular person multiplied by anonymity multiplied by an audience equals…well, something we cannot repeat on a family-friendly website. However, the proclivity of anonymous crowds to be abusive is well-known, and the competitive character of online multiplayer games exacerbates the problem.

It’s possible to make your online gaming experience more bearable if you’ve been subjected to harassment by other gamers. Aside from remaining entirely offline, there isn’t a method to completely protect yourself from abusive players. However, by following these suggestions, you may at least make an effort to have a more enjoyable experience.

Don’t Be a Jerk

To be honest, this advice sounds self-evident: being cruel to others will almost always result in the same behaviour from the other person. However, who among us wouldn’t think that not being a jerk may serve as a deterrent to other jerks from being jerks? Jerk, to be precise. Because we want to make sure that the golden rule still applies to online games, we’ll mention it again. And that includes Hanzo mains.

Don’t Engage

Adverse players are mostly motivated by the attention they want to garner from their dealings with other players. As a result, the one thing you should never do when hounded is the reply. This is a lot more difficult than it appears. An urge to quip back and shame someone into quiet is normal when they are being annoyed or foolish, as well as when they are flinging racist or sexist trash at you. Don’t make the mistake of doing that.

How to avoid abusive online gamers

Keep in mind that this individual derives some sort of joy from assaulting people, and there’s very nothing you could say to stop them or change their opinion, no matter how correct or reasonable you are. Any type of response, on the other hand, will simply serve to encourage them to continue their abusive behaviour.

Also, keep in mind that everyone currently participating in the game is doing so voluntarily. You own the ultimate trump card in this exchange: the ability to walk away at any point.

Block and Mute

Individual players can be muted in most online multiplayer games featuring text or voice chat. You may ban players from being paired with you in any game or just turn off text and voice chat for everyone by default, limiting communication to in-game character messages like “group up” or “great job,” depending on your preference.

How to avoid abusive online gamers

How to avoid abusive online gamers

How to avoid abusive online gamers

How to avoid abusive online gamers

It’s better to block or mute a single player than to block everyone because communication and collaboration are huge assets in most multiplayer games. However, if communicating with other players by voice or text is interfering with your enjoyment of the game, don’t be afraid to stop doing so.

Use the Report Option

A report option may be found in the majority of games that include a controlled multiplayer component. Use it without hesitation. There’s no reason not to report a player who is being abusive properly. Developers aren’t always the best at monitoring their games for bad behaviour, but if many complaints demonstrate that one person is consistently toxic to others to the point that it interferes with other players’ enjoyment, they’ll almost always utilise their administrative abilities to penalise that player.

From “time out” limitations, including lost communication rights or mode access, to a permanent account suspension, these penalties may be rather severe.

Try to Play with People You Already Know

If you’re already friends with everyone on your online multiplayer squad, online abuse isn’t as scary. Because of this, playing with others as much as possible is a smart idea. In-game guild members and regular teammates on your Friends List might enhance the social expectation of the virtual space without having to be individuals you know in real life. It’s generally enough to put folks off from being rude or offensive to strangers in the first place.”

Choose the Right Game Mode

This is a vital element that many players overlook: you should select the game mode that best suits the mood you’re trying to create.

Avoid the more competitive game servers or sections if you wish to play a game leisurely. For “Pro” or “Ranked” modes, where the incentives are permanent status modifications or global leaderboard positions, this is especially true. Many shooters and MOBAs, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) are known for their frantic, high-stress communication styles.

How to avoid abusive online gamers

A game mode that pits players against computer opponents or some other non-player challenge is preferable whenever possible. The modes in question are commonly known as PvE (player versus environment). They’re not in every game, but when they do exist, they’re significantly less stressful and competitive than other types of multiplayer games, including ranked ones.

The Nuclear Option: Try Another Game

Remember that you can always stop a game if the social aspect bothers you. That’s probably what you should do if your interactions with other players are making the game less enjoyable. What’s the point of playing a game if you’re not having fun?

Keep in mind that every year, hundreds of new games are released for each system, as well as thousands for PCs. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a better game to spend your time with, one with a better community of gamers.

According to industry experts, the rising compliance standards and regulations will present gaming operators with increased costs. On the other hand the more comprehensive regulations will boost the trustworthiness of gaming sites and contribute to the overall growth in the gaming market.

September 18, 2017

How to avoid abusive online gamers

As of late, gambling regulations and anti-money laundering (AML) protocols have been expanding to prevent criminal abuse and increase the safety of gaming sites. In an effort to comply with regulations, online gaming operators have joined the front line in minimizing the occurrence of criminal abuse.

The online gaming industry is growing exponentially and the number of companies that provide sports betting, lotteries, casino games, and bingo is on the rise. Predictions for the global gaming market show a significant increase over the next five years; $50 billion by 2019 and $55 billion by 2021.

Most of the gambling sites in the global market offer sports betting and casino-type games such as slots and card games. The casino sites have been growing the fastest and there are many countries where a company can obtain a gaming license to operate. Each country offers a unique framework for regulation and licensing with some being stricter than others.

In an attempt to regulate and reduce the risk of criminal activity, many gaming operators worldwide have implemented strict AML compliance measures. These include Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures as well as filing currency transaction reports (CTR) and suspicious activity reports (SAR) to discourage criminal activity and maintain the integrity of online gaming.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently published an in-depth report on AML compliance within the U.S. online gaming industry. The findings show that gaming companies have greatly increased AML compliance measures and have invested in combating unethical and criminal activity such as money laundering and terrorist financing. The industry-wide boost in compliance can be credited to a combination of monitoring illicit activities, the implementation of due diligence, and by boosting the filings of CTR and SARs.

Although there has been an increase in compliance, it’s worthy to note that the high standards required can be difficult for operators to comply with, regardless of their size. Gaming companies need large resources to keep up with the necessary demands and expenses. With the standards being updated regularly a lot of effort needs to be made and results in the increased need for manpower and funds. AML compliance can be so complex and detailed that even a highly regulated jurisdiction such as the UK can find it difficult.

Compliance regulations are extremely important to uphold the integrity of online gambling. Last week, gaming operator 888 was penalized by the UK Gambling Commission with a £7.8 million fine for ‘outrageous’ misconduct and failing to comply with regulations. The main offense that was uncovered was that over 7,000 players that opted for self-exclusion (self-imposed ban) were able to access their gaming accounts. Many players that self-exclude are those that have an addiction and are trying to quit, making them more vulnerable when they can access their accounts.

According to industry experts, the rising compliance standards and regulations will present gaming operators with increased costs. On the other hand, the more comprehensive regulations will boost the trustworthiness of gaming sites and contribute to the overall growth in the gaming market.

While AML compliance is extremely important in the industry, operators claim that the regulations can be harmful to players as well. For example, when a player wins a large amount of prize money, the regulations make it difficult for operators to pay out and thereby prolonging the process. This can result in the player filing a complaint about not receiving payment owed. While gaming regulations are put in place to protect players, it’s evident that they can work against them in certain cases.

Gambling Compliance Summarized:

  • The gaming industry is dedicated to upholding integrity and a culture of compliance.
  • Compliance within the industry will improve and grow stronger .
  • Operators will continue to strengthen their AML compliance such as due diligence and filing reports.
  • The gaming industry recognizes the significance of AML, KYC, and the monitoring of monetary transactions.
  • Compliance with regulations incurs expenses that are expected to rise.
  • Small and medium-sized companies might struggle to comply with the high standards and costly fees of gaming regulations.

Michael Dewan is head of PR at GBO International Financial Services LTD . GBO is becoming a world leader in providing corporate services for international companies. These services include assistance with incorporation of companies, opening business bank accounts, licensing, payment solutions, nominee services and more. Learn more information on how to acquire a gaming license today.

How to avoid abusive online gamers


Flaming And Game Rage

This is when a player completely loses control and starts to hurl abuse at other players. This can take the form of on-screen abuse or verbal abuse if you are using in-game chat. There are a number of steps you can take to deal with people who have their in-game rage on!

  • Block and mute – The simplest way is to turn off your in-game chat. You may be able to isolate the player from chat but this will depend on what options are available to you at the time.
  • Report – most games and online gaming platforms have abuse reporting procedures for players. You might be able to submit a report while still playing or through the admin/moderator resources after you have finished the game.

For further help and information about dealing with game rage or any other online toxicity, visit the coping strategies section of the website.


Griefing is when players start to disrupt and annoy other players on purpose. This can involve cheating, stealing other players’ swag, team kills and generally causing as much grief to other players as they can. Some players actually enjoy playing with griefers – they see it as a challenge to see who can cause the most damage or annoyance in the game.

Griefing is recognized among most gaming communities as toxic behavior and can be reported to game moderators and admin teams. How your report is dealt with will depend on the game or platform you are playing on. For example on Minecraft, servers are moderated independently and you may have to try out different servers to find out if the admin team will deal with griefers. Other platforms such as League of Legends have automated reporting systems which recognize players who play unfairly and will take action.

Doxing And Swatting

Doxing and swatting are tactics used by online abusers to harass and annoy their victims. You can learn more about doxing and swatting on their respective pages of our Online Abuse Help Center – just click on the links to find in-depth explanations of what they involve as well as how to protect yourself and avoid attacks.

Hate Speech

Hate and abuse in video games can take many forms including; racism, antisemitism, anti-muslim, misogyny and anti-LGBT abuse. This type of abuse can be verbal or written depending on your in-game chat facilities.

Hate speech is taken very seriously by game developers and gaming platforms with both offering reporting and support facilities. All forms of hate speech are banned within most codes of conduct.

  • Block, mute and report – Nobody should have to endure in-game hate speech and you should block, mute and report any player who does immediately. This type of abuse is extremely toxic and has no place in gaming, so it is essential that it is reported.
  • Save evidence – If the hate speech is continual you may also have grounds for legal action. Although hate speech is not necessarily illegal due to freedom of speech laws, it can be a criminal offence under harassment or cyberbullying laws.

Threatening And Aggressive Behavior In Games

As with hate speech, threats and aggressive abuse are regarded as extremely toxic and will be in breach of the terms & conditions or code of conduct for the game being played. This type of abuse might include threats to your life, describing violent or sexual acts, threats of physical torture or threatening to attack you in real life.

As with hate speech, you should always report any threats that are made to you to the game admins or moderators. Threats considered to be ‘credible’ or ‘of a serious nature’ could also be considered a criminal offense. For more information about the law surrounding online abuse visit our legal section.

How to avoid abusive online gamers

If you are a lover of online casino gaming, the problem of hackers getting hold of your data while you are playing games would have crossed your mind at some point. Because of this danger of this ugly situation and the need to avoid it, we are rolling out measures you need to take. They will help you to avoid being affected negatively by hacking while you are playing games.

Now, every new casino UK user understands how risky it is when our personal information is revealed on new casino UK sites. If we fail to take the necessary measures when we are enjoying live casino games, we may fall victim to third party access to our data and funds. So, what is it that we should do to avoid this?

Who Are Hackers?

They are people whose sole intention is to make cyber threats. They try to get into the tablets, computers, and mobile devices of players through several means and steal their bank accounts and data once they are in. Many people may wonder how this is possible. However this is made possible through different cybernetic techniques. Through these means, they can also gain access to your online casino account without any permission and get hold of your personal data and bank accounts.

How Do They Gain Access to Our Devices?

To gain access to our devices, these hackers apply different techniques. They include the use of fake websites, phishing, fake and dangerous emails, and others. If your device is not protected with a strong antivirus, you will become open to their entrance.

Now, it is good to let you know that there are a lot of fake online casinos out there, and their only aim is to get you to register with them so as to collect your data. Some casino houses also send fake emails to you for the purpose of collecting your data for their use.

How to Secure an Account

Majority of the online casinos use a lot of tools and techniques to guard against attacks from these hackers. To ensure that they are not caught up in this type of problem, they sink in huge amounts of money and resources. In the bid by the virtual criminals to attack casino players, they sometimes deliver huge but false promotions and bonuses so as to lure them to their pages, pretending to be safe and real casino platforms.

How Do We Avoid Such Situations?

Just like we’ve said before, the major information that the cyber criminals are after are your bank details and other essential data. So your job would be to ensure that they are prevented from having access to these, and the way to do this is by installing the right antivirus, plus other applications that are meant to prevent them from coming in.

More Solutions

We keep reiterating the fact that any online casino lover would have thought twice about the safety of their bank details when entering them in the online casino rooms.

These fears are not out of place at all, because the risk of fraud will always exist in all online platforms that involve the movement of money, specially the online casinos.

To forestall the danger, players are advised to ensure that these safety precautions are taken before any online casino is chosen for games.

  • Ensure that the casino is legal in your country and is properly licensed
  • Ensure that your account is protected under the casino
  • Ensure that no third party has access to your data
  • Make sure you are dealing with the official site and not the fake one by confirming the stamps, links, and the url
  • Ensure that you are getting emails from the real online platform alone
  • Their customer service must be real and must work properly
  • The games offered must be real and of high quality
  • Find out how long they’ve been in the business
  • Check the veracity of the site in Google

What teens want to know about cyberbullying.

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Cyberbullying: What is it and how can we stop it?

We brought together UNICEF specialists, international cyberbullying and child protection experts, and teamed up with Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter to answer some of the most common questions about online bullying and give advice on ways to deal with it.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones. It is repeated behaviour, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted. Examples include:

  • spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos or videos of someone on social media
  • sending hurtful, abusive or threatening messages, images or videos via messaging platforms
  • impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf or through fake accounts.

Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. But cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint – a record that can prove useful and provide evidence to help stop the abuse.

If you are worried about your safety or something that has happened to you online, you can seek help by calling your national helpline. If your country does not have a helpline, please urgently speak to an adult you trust or seek professional support from trained and experienced carers.

COVID-19 update: The global coronavirus pandemic poses it’s own challenges to the safety and well-being of children, especially those that are out of school. Visit UNICEF’s COVID-19 information center to learn more.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of mind games, and we’ve all experienced people who like to ‘test’ us and put us through the psychological ringer. These people might be our colleagues, our friends, our family, or most commonly, our partners – but in any case it can be just as frustrating and potentially damaging. So how do you deal with it and how can you get the upper hand? Here we will look at why people play mind games, what this often entails, and how to turn it around.

Why People Play Mind Games

There are various reasons that people will play mind games, and the reason that you’re experiencing it will be to do with the individual who’s subjecting you to them, the context that’s surrounding the mind games, and your own personality. The reason a colleague plays mind games at work for instance might be very different to the reason your partner plays mind games and tests you.

The first reason that many people play mind games is undoubtedly in order to get back some control. If we can illicit a response from someone, or if we can get them to do what we want, then this can give us a great power buzz and make us feel like we are in control. If that person experiences little control in other areas of their life, then perhaps this is a way to make up for that and to regain that feeling so that they needn’t be quite so frightened. In short it’s a matter of insecurity.

This insecurity might also come with resentment. If they are feeling like they have no control of their lives, or perhaps like a failure, then it might be that they chose you specifically to take out their frustrations and this will often be because you represent what they want to be. Perhaps you exhibit confidence and success that they wish the possessed, and perhaps by playing mind games they can feel like the ‘winner’ for a change.

In relationships this can often be more complex. Here the mind games are often a form of testing in order to see how you react, to see how much control they have in the relationship, and to test their theories and concerns. Someone you are dating may for instance invite you to do one thing and then get angry when you take them up on the offer (perhaps going out with friends rather than spending time with them). The reason for this is not sheer emotional manipulation (ordinarily – though sometimes it can be used as a form of control still), but usually because they want you to demonstrate you’d rather be with them even when the choice is ‘up to you’. Likewise if someone is upset, they might not directly tell you or explain why, hoping instead that you will be sensitive enough to work those details out for yourself. This feels a lot like playing mind games, but it may not have such fiendish motivations.

Finally mind games can quite simply be a means to an end. If you want something from someone and directly asking hasn’t proved fruitful, and force is not an option, then sometimes manipulating that person can be seen as the only way to get the desired response.

How to Deal With Mind Games

The best way to deal with mind games is simply to rise above them. You should avoid trying to ‘beat them at their own game’, as doing so can actually end up with both of you getting hurt. Normally the mind games being employed are used for the simple reason that the person doing it is too afraid to confront you directly, or they know you would win the confrontation. They are using indirect and manipulative techniques, because they feel insecure, or because you are in the stronger position. Thus if you call them directly on what you suspect, and if you address the issue publicly, they will more often than not reverse course and back down and you will win.

So for instance if someone were to try and subtly undermine you in a workplace, you could try to do the same back and would end up with both of your reputations tarnished (and the fact that you were stopping to underhand methods would be a mark against you too). However if you simply told them you didn’t like what they were implying and that they should address you directly through the proper channels if they have a complaint, then you’ll find they often apologise and back down and that you end up with the better reputation.

Likewise in relationships this can work well too – simply ask directly what it is that is bothering your partner, and if there is anything you can do to help. This demonstrates sensitivity, but also means you aren’t engaging in mind games that will likely end up getting you both hurt. If they aren’t in a talking mood then the best thing to do is simply remove yourself from the situation – tell them that you have no interest in mind games and that you will talk to them when they want to speak openly and maturely.

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Should social media companies be more accountable for punishing users who use discriminatory, abusive or threatening language?

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How to avoid abusive online gamers

Students in U.S. high schools can get free digital access to The New York Times until Sept. 1, 2021.

How often do you encounter racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory language online in posts or comments? Do you think abusive language is a serious problem that social media companies, like Twitter and Facebook, should do a better job of addressing? What consequences should there be for users who post these kinds of comments?

If you were in charge of a social media company, what actions, if any, would you take to stop such abuse?

In “English Soccer Will Boycott Social Media to Protest Online Abuse,” Jesus Jiménez and Andrew Das write about English soccer officials’ announcement that they would conduct a social media blackout to pressure platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to do more to combat abuse among their users:

Cases of harassment have been well documented online. In February, Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah posted a picture on Twitter with the caption “Working with a smile!”

The tweet was met with racist abuse from a Twitter user who told Nketiah, who is Black, to leave the club. Twitter responded by permanently suspending the user’s account, Sky Sports reported.

Such harassment has been instigated not only by fans, but also by club social media accounts. In December, the commentator and former soccer player Karen Carney deleted her Twitter account after she received a wave of online abuse.

After a 5-0 win by Leeds United over West Brom, Carney on Amazon Prime Video Sport wondered whether Leeds would “blow up at the end of the season.” A clip of her commentary was shared by the Leeds team Twitter account, which invited a slew of hateful messages toward Carney.

Many on Twitter defended her and criticized the team’s social media folks, including the former Leeds captain Rio Ferdinand, who called for the tweet to be deleted.

Bethany England, a forward for Chelsea, called out Leeds’ social media team for “atrocious behaviour.”

“Cyber bullying a female pundit and opening her up to mass online abuse for DOING HER JOB AND HAVING HER OPINION!” England said.

In February, the top executives of the Football Association — English soccer’s governing body — the Premier League, and other organizations wrote an open letter to Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, and Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O. of Facebook, calling for the leaders to put an end to “the levels of vicious, offensive abuse” coming from users on their platforms.

“The reality is your platforms remain havens for abuse,” the soccer executives wrote. “Your inaction has created the belief in the minds of the anonymous perpetrators that they are beyond reach.”

In the past, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have taken steps, such as banning users temporarily or permanently, but the issues of online abuse have persisted.

In a news release announcing the social media boycott, which will take place from Friday afternoon through Monday, English soccer called on the United Kingdom to “bring in strong legislation to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms.”

In the statement, Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, said the league would continue to push social media companies to make changes to prevent online abuse.

“Racist behaviour of any form is unacceptable and the appalling abuse we are seeing players receive on social media platforms cannot be allowed to continue,” Masters said. “Football is a diverse sport, which brings together communities and cultures from all backgrounds and this diversity makes the competition stronger.”

The article concludes:

The social-media blackout will take place while an entire slate of games in multiple leagues will be played, including one between Manchester United and Liverpool, the Premier League’s defending champion.

Edleen John, director of international relations for the Football Association, said English soccer will not stop pressing for change after next weekend.

“It’s simply unacceptable that people across English football and society more broadly continue to be subjected to discriminatory abuse online on a daily basis, with no real-world consequences for perpetrators,” John said. “Social media companies need to be held accountable if they continue to fall short of their moral and social responsibilities to address this endemic problem.”

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

Do you think English soccer’s blackout will bring about change in social media companies’ policies regarding discriminatory abuse on their platforms? Why or why not?

What about users themselves? To what degree do you think the blackout will make them reconsider their behavior online? Why do you say that?

How and where do you draw the line between comments that are acceptable, though perhaps inappropriate, and those that should lead to repercussions like having one’s account deleted?

Have you ever reported another social media user for abusive language online? If so, what happened?

Do you think that public figures like professional athletes and pundits, along with celebrities and influencers, endure more abuse online than people who aren’t famous? Is it just “part of the job”? Should it be?

The article points out that Leeds United’s team Twitter account shared a clip including speculation by the soccer commentator Karen Carney that the team might not do well at the end of the season, which in turn “invited a slew of hateful messages toward Carney” from Leeds fans. What are your thoughts about this incident? Did members of Leeds United’s social media team act irresponsibly, were they just trying to engage fans or is there some other reason they posted the video? Explain.

About Student Opinion

• Find all of our Student Opinion questions in this column.
• Have an idea for a Student Opinion question? Tell us about it.
• Learn more about how to use our free daily writing prompts for remote learning.

Students 13 and older in the United States and the United Kingdom, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

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  • How to avoid abusive online gamers

    • Dec. 7, 2019

    Sexual predators have found an easy access point into the lives of young people: They are meeting them online through multiplayer video games and chat apps, making virtual connections right in their victims’ homes.

    Many of the interactions lead to crimes of “sextortion,” in which children are coerced into sending explicit imagery of themselves.

    We asked two experts how families could best navigate gaming and other online activity that can expose children to sexual predators.

    Dr. Sharon W. Cooper is a forensic pediatrician at the University of North Carolina and an expert on sexual exploitation. Michael Salter is an associate criminology professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Both are internationally recognized for their work in the field of child sexual abuse.

    The following recommendations have been condensed and edited for clarity.

    Set rules for when and how your child can interact with others online

    Dr. Cooper: The conversation on online safety should begin with a statement that there will be rules because a parent loves his or her children and wants to see them be safe and have the best that is in store for them.

    I empower parents to know that they control access and should always exert that control. Research has shown that parents who mediate online behavior have the most resilient children. It is about time online (not too much), content (age-appropriate and prosocial) and parental empowerment (access is a gift, not a right).

    Spend time with your child on new games and apps

    Dr. Salter: Gaining some shared experience on a new service helps you identify risks, builds trust and provides an opportunity for nonconfrontational conversations. You can find out more about different platforms by going to trusted sources such as Common Sense Media and the eSafety commissioner website in Australia, which provide useful summaries of new apps and their safety features.

    Talk to your child about online safety, and listen

    Dr. Salter: You can start by talking about our rights and responsibilities online. You can emphasize that, online, we have an obligation to treat people well, and a right to be treated well by others.

    You can brainstorm with your child the kinds of situations where they might feel unsafe, and the strategies they can use to stay safe. Set reasonable rules, but keep the conversation open so they feel comfortable coming to you if something happens that concerns them.

    We’ve had situations where children have stayed silent on really major sextortion cases for months because they were already in trouble online and didn’t want to be in trouble for breaking the rules, too. Groomers and abusers rely on silence.

    Encourage your child to raise any concerns with a trusted adult

    Dr. Salter: Red flags that an online “friend” can’t be trusted: They tell the child to keep the relationship secret; they ask for a lot of personal information; they promise favors and gifts; they contact the child through multiple platforms and services; they initiate intimate discussions about the child’s appearance; and they insist on meeting face to face.

    The first thing is for children to raise concerns with adults they trust. They should know never to send a nude image on the internet and remember they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. Their most common mistake is not listening to themselves when they feel uncomfortable.

    Be on the lookout for warning signs of abuse

    Dr. Cooper: We try to avoid making children feel they are wholly responsible for their safety because if they fail, they develop significant guilt and self-blame. That being said, the most important warning signs are too much time online and angry reactions when parents put in a cease-and-desist order. Others are contact with a “voice” they do not recognize, and contact with someone requesting inappropriate behavior, including duping their parents.

    Educate your child about blocking users who make them uncomfortable

    Dr. Salter: While exploring a platform or app with your children, find out how to report and block users who make them feel unsafe. Encourage them to use this option if they receive unwanted or uncomfortable contact. If the user persists, contact your local police.

    Don’t blame your child if abuse arises

    Dr. Salter: The first step is to remain nonjudgmental and reassure your children that they are not in trouble. Groomers rely on children feeling too ashamed to tell, so it’s important to be supportive.

    The most common mistake parents make is embarrassment — being unable to create a space in their relationship with their children where it’s O.K. to discuss their emerging interest in sex. It’s really hard to talk to children about their sexuality.

    Take charge as your child’s online protector. No one else will.

    Dr. Cooper: The industry is not about the business of promoting safety. I have yet to see a new cellphone purchase accompanied with a “How to keep your children safe with this device” pamphlet. We should empower children and show them how to report to trusted authorities.

    How to avoid abusive online gamers

    Online gaming is one the fastest growing trend in today’s generation. Keeping kids in mind, it is both useful as well as harmful for them. Hence, it is not advisable to keep them totally away from gaming. You could be doing them more harm than good, by banning them from playing games online.

    In this post, we shall talk about some of the solutions to make online gaming a safe and enjoyable experience for children, by considering their benefits and drawbacks.

    Few disadvantages of online gaming for kids are:

    • Internet is an open place where you can access a vast amount of information. Kids may download games from less reputed sites. As a result, they end up downloading spam, viruses, malicious software etc.
    • Some people out there are always trying to find ways to take undue advantage of kids. Kids are fooled and cheated and can also be abused and harassed online.

    Now some advantages:

    • Online gaming makes the kid sharper and mentally more active. The games generally have various levels or missions to be completed in limited times. This helps the kids in learning about time management.
    • Mind and hand coordination. This is one of the main and important advantages that the kids experience while playing online games. He/she learns to coordinate his/her mind with the actions of his hands. While executing those actions, they also develop mental strength.
    • Kids tend to become socially active, as they interact and play with complete strangers online. It helps them in their social life too.

    Even though gaming has some drawbacks, parents can still protect their kids from becoming victims to online attacks. Since it can still be very useful for kids, parents should avoid banning their kids completely from playing games online. Rather, you will need to make some strict rules to be followed by kids.

    • Secrecy – You can teach kids to keep their personal information a secret, especially not to share it on the unknown sites.
    • All the online games need passwords to access. Teach your kid not to share this password with anyone to avoid cheating, and getting hacked.
    • They should never to give out their personal or real names online, unless the website has a good reputation.
    • You could teach them some general etiquette like paying fair game with fellow players.
    • Never trust anyone whom you meet online. Never agree to meet them in person.
    • Most importantly, online gaming should be played only be for fun, and not for any accessing age restricted activities like gambling.

    These are some things you can ask or tell your kid to take care of, but as a parent, there are few steps you can take to make Online Gaming a safe and enjoyable experience for them.

    Some of them are:

    • Antivirus software is very essential, and more importantly, it should be updated everyday. It will protect your computer from common viruses automatically. They also come with parental guidance features, using which you can avoid your children from entering illegal sites and unsafe sites.
    • Manually activate the family safety settings in your system. This will block the sites which you do not want your kids to enter.
    • Limit their gaming privileges for certain hours in a day. You can suggest and encourage them to play only the safe and fun games like the Minecraft, so that they do not browse for games on their own.

    Some solutions if the problem already exists:

  • Everyone has their own personal instinct about anything good or bad. Make your kids share everything with you. Make it comfortable for them, so that they will come forward and tell you everything, without the fear of getting punished.
  • If someone is pressuring your kid to share personal information, or harassing the kid, you can always file a complaint against the users or websites.

    Enjoy the online gaming experience and have great fun, but make sure that you play it safe.

    The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

    How to avoid abusive online gamers

    Dealing with emotional abuse is something that many men and women face in relationships. Whether it’s a marriage, a friendship or even a work relationship, learning how to cope with emotional abuse can become a reality.

    The first step in dealing with emotional abuse is learning to spot the signs. If you’re not aware of the emotional abuse, you can’t make it stop. The first sign of emotional abuse might be just something in the pit of the stomach, a vague feeling that something is “wrong.” It’s only by further assessing these feelings and the relationship that emotional abuse can be seen and stopped.

    In short, in an emotionally abusive relationship, one party will try to control and dominate the other party by using abusive techniques. There becomes a power imbalance in abusive relationships where the abuser has all the power and the victim feels that they have none. However, victims really do have the power in this situation to stop the emotional abuse, but it can be difficult.

    Coping with Emotional Abuse

    Emotional abuse doesn’t have to go unchallenged and coping with emotional abuse is more than just learning to “live with it.” Emotional abusers are just like bullies on the playground and just like bullies, their abuse can be handled.

    Use these techniques when coping with emotional abuse: 1

    • Understand the abuser – while it can seem counterintuitive to have compassion for the abuser, sometimes changing the way you view the abuser can give you insight into coping with the abuse. Often abusers are insecure, anxious or depressed and remembering that may help you to keep the abuse in its proper context – the abuse isn’t about you, it’s about them.
    • Stand up to the abuser – just like the playground bully, emotional abusers don’t like to be challenged and may back down if you challenge their abusive tactics.
    • Find positive ways to interact with the abuser – if you can handle the abuser in a neutral way, you may be able to see the positive in the abuser and find new ways to interact with him or her that is positive. This is mostly seen in workplace environments.
    • Change the subject or use humor to distract from the situation.
    • Never support acts of emotional abuse of others.

    How to Stop Emotional Abuse

    Dealing with emotional abuse isn’t always an option though, particularly in severe cases or in intimate relationships.

    Abusers don’t stop emotional abuse on their own and it is up to the victims and those around them to help stop the emotional abuse. Although a victim may feel “beaten up” by the emotional abuser and may feel like they are nothing without him or her, the victim still can still stand up to the abuser and assert their own power.

    Stopping emotional abuse takes courage. Use these techniques when stopping emotional abuse:

    • Regain control of the situation by acting confident and looking the abuser in the eye.
    • Speak in a calm, clear voice and state a reasonable expectation such as, “Stop teasing me. I want you to treat me with dignity and respect.”
    • Act out of rationality, with responses that will help the situation, and not out of emotion.
    • Practice being more assertive in other situations, so you can be more assertive when being emotionally abused.

    How to Stop Severe Emotional Abuse

    In cases of severe emotional abuse, there may be no choice but to leave the relationship. Emotional abusers can only change so much as their behavior tends to be ingrained. If the abuser is not willing to change or get help for their abusive behavior, it is time for you to get your own help. No one deserves to be abused and help is available. Be sure to contact law enforcement if, at any time, you feel you or someone else is in danger. 2

    How to avoid abusive online gamers

    Cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent among children and teens, as young people now spend more time on phones, computers and digital devices. About 6 in 10 teens have been bullied or harassed online , according to Pew Research Center. Cyberbullying can occur via social media, text, email, instant messages and gaming platforms. It also frequently happens anonymously, making it even more difficult to address and prevent.

    Yet the consequences of cyberbullying are serious: a recent study published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that several online risks factors, including cyberbullying, were associated with higher suicide-related behavior in young people. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 18 years in the U.S. , with rates increasing nearly 62% from 1999 to 2018.

    Historically, it’s been up to human moderators to manually censor offensive content—on social media platforms, for instance—but this is time-consuming and unreliable. Now, many platforms are using algorithms powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and censor harmful content. Read on to find out more, and what parents, teachers and young people themselves can do to combat cyberbullying.

    Examples of Cyberbullying and Who Is at Risk

    Cyberbullying can be hard to pin down, since some young people may not consider name-calling or other common behaviors bullying. Also, some may be reluctant to report being bullied online, due to embarrassment or fear of repercussions.

    • Offensive name-calling
    • Rumor-spreading
    • Being sent explicit images without their consent
    • Having explicit images of themselves shared without their consent
    • Having someone other than a parent constantly asking where they are, what they’re doing or who they’re with
    • Physical threats

    According to data published in October 2021 by the Cyberbullying Research Center, cyberbullying tends to peak at around 14 to 15 years old . Research on the relationship between gender and cyberbullying has been inconclusive, however, transgender teens report a higher incidence of cyberbullying . Males are more likely to be the perpetrators of cyberbullying.

    These are just a few of the platforms that children and teens use, however. Here’s a more comprehensive list of popular social media apps and sites as of September 2021 , according to The more digital platforms a person uses, the more opportunities there are to encounter cyberbullying.

    How Can Artificial Intelligence Combat Cyberbullying?

    The TechTalks blog reports that AI is being used to address bullying and offensive content online , taking the burden off of human moderators. Specifically, social media companies are using machine learning, or software that learns from examples. Many companies are creating and training algorithms to detect hate speech and abusive language online.

    According to the TechTalks blog, “the advantage such algorithms have over parental control software and keyword-spotting blockers is that they should recognize subtle and sarcastic comments—a task that the former solutions can’t cope with. Besides, the use of machine learning is necessitated because slurs and insults can often be, intentionally or not, misspelled.”

    Meta, formerly Facebook, is one company that’s invested heavily in AI for content moderation, reported Fast Company .

    “This AI resides in hundreds of servers in the company’s data centers. Complex neural networks trained to recognize toxic user content are called upon whenever a new post appears anywhere on Facebook, and asked to determine if the content violates any of the company’s community guidelines. Some look for hate speech, some look for misinformation, others look for bullying or nudity, and so on. While much of the inappropriate content is sent to human moderators for further action, some of it can be analyzed and then removed by AI alone.”

    According to Fast Company, the company has made significant progress: In the second quarter of 2020, Facebook reported that it took down 104.6 million pieces of content that violated its community standards. That includes removing more than 22 million pieces of hate speech, compared to just 2.5 million hate posts two years prior. But the progress Facebook has seen in its natural language AI has not transferred over to similar progress in its computer vision AI’s ability to detect such content—meaning that images and multimedia cannot yet be effectively monitored.

    How to Address Cyberbullying

    While technology shows promise in helping to combat cyberbullying, there are many things young people, parents and teachers can do to address the problem as well.

    How to avoid abusive online gamers

    Cyberbullying can happen to anyone, at any time – and at any age. How can adults deal with various forms of online abuse and harassment?

    Whenever cyberbullying is mentioned, our minds usually associate the topic with children or teenagers. Much has been said about cyberbullying by psychologists, organizations, public figures, as well as other concerned parties. However, we often fail to realize that adults can be the victims of cyberbullying too.

    If you think that adults being victims is an overstatement, just look at the comments under the social media posts of celebrities, athletes, or even politicians. You might say: “Those are public figures; they should be able to handle it!” As far as constructive criticism is concerned, then yes, by all means. But when does criticism cross the line and turn into cyberbullying?

    Cyberbullying isn’t limited to public figures; any one of us can become a target. Skeptical? The Pew Research Center begs to differ. Its recent study on online harassment found that approximately four in ten US adults have personally experienced online harassment, with a quarter of the respondents finding their experience very or extremely upsetting.

    And if that didn’t drive home the point that everyone could be a target regardless of age, then this quote from the Pew study by a 59-year-old victim might: “Cyberbullies who are anonymous are relentless. They find a weakness and hammer it over and over.”

    As we mark Stop Cyberbullying Day, we should educate ourselves on the signs and threats of cyberbullying and how we can stand up to it.

    What is cyberbullying?

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines cyberbullying as “the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (such as a student) often done anonymously,” while says that “cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets.”

    It takes place on social media, messaging services, comment sections, forums, or even on gaming platforms. Social media is the most prevalent channel; almost 60% of Americans surveyed in the Pew study stated that the most recent episode of harassment they experienced was through social media.

    You may encounter various types of cyberbullying attacks; some bullies will focus on your beliefs – political, religious or otherwise – while others may aim at your physical appearance, character, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or anything that may present itself as an easy target and that will rattle you.

    Your bullies may try to humiliate you by revealing sensitive personal information that you’d rather keep private. Often the person harassing you will be a stranger, but in some cases, it could be an acquaintance, a co-worker, or a former romantic partner.

    When multiple perpetrators engage in the act of cyberbullying, it’s called mobbing. The act is sometimes associated with the workplace, where other employees try to force someone out of work by using intimidation, humiliation, spreading malicious rumors, or by other means.

    We’ve also mentioned gaming platforms. Cyberbullying has been quite prevalent in the gamer community. It usually takes place when a player’s match performance within a team is suboptimal. The other team members then engage in berating them, using personal attacks and vulgar language. The worst manifestation of cyberbullying (and not only in the gaming community) is swatting, a tactic that involves deceiving emergency services into sending a police response team to another person’s address by falsely reporting a hostage situation or bomb threat. In some cases, these incidents have led to deaths.

    Political discussions on social media or different forums can prove to be cyberbullying hotbeds as well. Tempers run high and participants want to convince you that their chosen party is the solution to all of the country’s problems. Civil discourse can turn into a vitriolic, hate-speech-filled, virtual shouting match with insidious comments and ad hominem arguments. Unfortunately, to make matters worse, trolls like to join in just to stoke the fire and see what happens.

    Now, what can you do to protect yourself against cyberbullying?

    Protective and reactive measures

    When children and teenagers are cyberbullied, they are usually advised to turn to adults for help. But what can adults do? Who do they turn to?

    Well, surprisingly, the advice remains quite similar. Adults should turn to other adults – in this case, the authorities. Cyberbullying is considered a crime in many parts of the developed world. The police, or the organizations that deal with this sort of crime, can then start an investigation.

    But what should you do if you want to avoid turning to the police, and keep it as a last resort?

    Most social media platforms have tools in place to deal with any kind of online abuse. On Facebook you can report offensive comments, posts, and profiles; the last can be blocked as well. The social media giant also offers pages dedicated to help with abusive behavior and bullying or harassment on its platform. Instagram also encourages users to report any instances of bullying and harassment and offers resources to help those who have experienced it. Twitter also offers advice on how to deal with online abuse on its platform.

    When it comes to online gaming platforms the same usually applies. The majority of popular game platforms institute some sort of safeguards against online bullying and harassment. Usually these comprised a combination of manual reporting of players and automated detection of abusive behavior, which can lead to temporary bans and to permanent ones for repeat offenders. You may argue that they can sign up once again from another email, but they’ll have to start their journey through the game from scratch, which may be sufficient deterrence to an avid gamer dabbling in some cyberbullying on the side.

    Always remember

    Cyberbullying is never the victim’s fault: nobody should be treated harshly and attacked, no matter who they are, where they come from, or who they love – no one under any circumstances, period. If anything of this sort happens to you, do not keep it bottled up inside; rather, seek help. Talk to your friends, family members, human resources officials, or even healthcare professionals. They are there to help you find a solution to the problem.

    It is also important to keep evidence of the cyberbullying and online abuse, so you can prove it happened should you decide to report it. Keep copies of the direct messages, blog posts, social media posts, emails, photos, or whatever else was used.

    Further resources

    The following websites offer advice as well as contacts for counseling services:

    To learn more about how cyberbullying affects children, as well as about how not only technology can help, head over to Safer Kids Online.

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    How to avoid abusive online gamers

    The internet has become an even more significant part of our lives in the last couple of years. Now, 227 million Americans play online, and 55% say they will keep playing after the pandemic. So from casino gambling to kid-friendly games, more online game options will keep arriving.

    All those choices make it easy to find online entertainment. But for many, common online gaming errors sour the experience. So if you want to learn better gaming practices for you and your children, keep reading.

    These five tips will help you avoid burnout and learn to enjoy safe gaming online.

    1. Get a Feel for the Action

    Learning the basics is a natural first step, no matter which types of video games you play. Many players jump into online multiplayer games without knowing what to expect.

    Take some time to observe how the game plays out before getting involved. There are also lots of forums where you can get tips from experts, and it costs nothing.

    2. Read the Fine Print

    One of the most common online gaming errors people make is not knowing the site’s rules. Even in free games, it’s critical to learn how your personal data gets used. So take the time to read through terms and conditions before giving up information.

    Also, read reviews of games from people who have played them. If you don’t feel comfortable with the site, there are plenty of other online game options online. Sites like Gamemine o2 provide the needed information to choose better playing experiences.

    3. Play for Free First

    Like online casinos, many online game options include play without depositing real money. Use free play to get familiar with the game you choose. And take advantage of promotions and bonuses to play before risking your cash.

    Many online multiplayer games will offer upgrades at promotional prices. But there’s one more with a bit extra with every upgrade level. Before you start spending, set a firm budget for playing online games.

    4. Widen Your Circle

    Online multiplayer games allow people to chat during play. It can be a great way to interact and make online friends. But being selective will help you avoid unsavory characters.

    Also, be aware when the game chat is becoming a toxic environment. If players are being abusive or expressing anger, report their behavior. Check your online gam options for blocking intrusive players.

    Parents need to monitor their childrens’ games for suspicious activity. With diligence, they can help kid-friendly games stay safe.

    5. Set Limits on Your Time

    It’s easy to get immersed in the action and forget how much time you are spending on some types of video games. Staying in the game too long will not improve your play.

    Avoid getting exhaustion and making common online gaming errors without even knowing. It’s much better to play rested and awake for safe online gaming.

    Common Online Gaming Errors Are Costly

    There are many reasons to look at online gaming options with a positive approach. Safe online gaming practices will save your money and your well-being.

    So have more fun by avoiding the common online gaming errors that cause long-term harm. And if these tips helped you with your gaming, come back soon for more valuable insights.

    Get tips on how to use tech tools to filter and block inappropriate content on children’s device and what conversations to have to keep them safe online.

    How to avoid abusive online gamers

    • Learn about it
    • Protect your child
    • Deal with it
    • Resources

    What’s on the page

      • Tips and tools to protect children from adult content
      • Starting a conversation about what children see online
      • Manage children’s social media activity
      • Set controls and privacy settings
      • Managing access to inappropriate content

    Tips and tools to protect children from adult content

    Tools like parental controls can help to protect your children from accessing inappropriate content, but you can’t check everything they see on the internet. You need to help them avoid unsuitable content, and cope with it if they see it. The first step is to talk to them about it.

    Parental Control tools can help protect your child from accessing inappropriate content but can’t block everything.

    In addition to controls, having regular conversations about what they may see will help children build good coping strategies to deal with whatever the internet throws at them.

    Many sites have a minimum age limit of 13 – including YouTube and Facebook. Explain to your child that age limits are there to help protect them from seeing things they may not be ready for.

    Talk to other parents and your child’s school to see what sort of rules they’re following and what they would recommend.

    Find out the kind of things your child likes to do online and agree which websites and apps are best for them and set some rules. Talk about how they search the internet; there are child-friendly search engines that are especially suitable for children.

    Let your child know that they can talk to you or a trusted adult if they come across anything that upsets them online.

    Starting a conversation about what children see online

    As soon as your child starts to use the internet you should begin to talk about what they might find there. Help them understand that sometimes they may come across things that they’d prefer not to see, or that you would prefer they didn’t see. Try to have these conversations regularly.

    Explain age limits and age-inappropriate sites

    Many sites have a minimum age limit of 13 – this includes websites like YouTube and Facebook. Explain to your child that age limits are there to help protect them from unsuitable content.

    Talk to other parents and the school

    Ask other parents and your child’s school what sort of rules they’re following and what they recommend.

    Agree ground rules

    Find out the kind of things your child likes to do online and agree which websites and apps are the best for them to use. These should include the search engines they use to find information. You can switch on Google SafeSearch and set YouTube safe mode to make sure they see age-appropriate results.

    Be calm and reassuring

    Let your child know they can talk to you or a trusted adult if they come across anything that upsets them online.

    Age verification on commercial porn sites

    The Government is set to apply a new age verification regime for commercial porn sites at the end of 2018 to keep children safe online. It will require users to provide credit card details to verify that they are 18 years old or over.

    Encourage critical thinking

    Help them think about why they like doing certain activities online to start to build their critical thinking.

    Talk about what is fake and what is real

    Show them that not everything they see online is true and to check other sources if something appears ‘too good to be true’-CBBC has videos and articles you can share with your child.

    Use storybooks to start conversations

    Start talking about online safety as soon as they get online – using stories to introduce the topic can make it easier to spark a conversation.

    Talk about positive ways to use tech

    Show that you understand the important role of technology and the Internet play in their lives.

    What can they do if they see something horrible or something bad happens?

    No matter how many precautions you take there will be times where your child feels hurt, scared or confused by something they’ve seen or experienced. Calmly talk through what they’ve seen, how to understand it, and what you can do together to make things better.

    What if they make a mistake or do something they later regret?

    The important thing is that your child talks to someone if they’ve messed up. Try not to get angry or overreact. Work out together how to remove content and make amends for any harm caused. They find it hard to talk to you, so let them know they can always contact a confidential helpline if they need advice.

    How can they know what and who to trust online?

    There is a lot online that is made up or exaggerated, and there can be a lot of pressure to show what a great time you’re having. There is always the possibility that someone is not who they say they are. Teach your child to always be questioning and to talk to you if something doesn’t seem quite right. It’s never ever a good idea to meet up with someone you have met online without letting your parents know about it.

    How can they make the online world better for other people?

    We all leave our own digital footprint and have a choice whether that’s positive or negative. Encourage your child to think about the language they use, the things they say and share, and how that might impact on other people.


    Online gaming can be a fun way for kids to connect with others, but it’s important for them to understand the risks and know how to handle certain situations. For example, kids should avoid posting pictures of themselves or releasing other personal information to their fellow gamers and know what to do if another player starts harassing them.

    The Entertainment Software Rating Board, which assigns the familiar age and content ratings for video games and mobile apps, gives a breakdown of the various types of games:

    • Boxed games: Games that come on a disc or cartridge that are purchased from a store or online and played on a game device like a console, handheld or PC.
    • Digital download: These are downloaded directly to the console, PC or handheld device. Most consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii) have their own online marketplaces where games can be downloaded. Some are full-length feature titles while many others are more casual in nature, like puzzle and word games.
    • Mobile storefronts: Smartphones and tablets let users download apps from online marketplaces linked to a credit card, e-wallet or your mobile phone account. Games are the most popular category of mobile apps. Like all games, their content can vary in terms of age-appropriateness.
    • Subscription: Online games or arcades in which players sign up for accounts that let them play games for set amounts of time and fees. Subscription services typically eliminate the need to physically possess a game at all by streaming the gameplay experience right to the device or accessing it from the service’s own servers (or cloud gaming).
    • “Free-to-play” and “freemium”: These games are typically supported by ads instead of purchase or subscription fees; a “freemium” game lets you play a limited portion for free but requires that you pay to access new content or features. Mobile apps, browser-based games and other types of casual games will often use these business models.
    • Social networking games: Played from within a social network like Facebook, these games encourage users to share content and updates with others in their social network. These games often include the opportunity to buy in-game items with real money, reward players for recruiting their friends to join the game and may leverage some of a user’s personal information (included in their social media profile) to tailor the game experience or advertisements to their interests.

    How to avoid abusive online gamersDespite not appearing in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM), there has been growing concern about people who appear to be obsessed with video games and spend far too much time playing.

    Addiction to video games is being considered for upcoming editions of the DSM, but for now it is not recognized as an official clinical problem. Regardless of its unofficial status, there is little question that some individuals (whether they are kids, teenagers, or adults) play video games excessively and that video game addiction can create problems in other important areas of their lives.

    This is not to imply that everyone who plays video games becomes addicted – in fact, only a small minority seem to develop significant problems. Millions of people play video games in moderation as a way to spend time with friends, relax after a stressful day, and as a simple form of entertainment.

    Still, keeping gaming habits under control is not something that comes easily to everyone. For some people, online computer gaming becomes the most important thing in their lives. Academic performance declines as little attention is given to studying or school grades. Someone with an addiction to video games may miss work or neglect job-related responsibilities due to an obsession with a favorite game. Relationships may suffer when one partner is neglected in favor of video games.

    When video games are no longer a simple diversion from the real world but an obsession that overtakes all other activities, this can lead to numerous negative consequences in the gamer’s life. Clearly, not all video game addicts will be affected in exactly the same way, but the list below details some of more common consequences of an addiction to video games.

    Problems Associated with an Addiction to Video Games

    1. Psychological

    Some people dealing with an addiction to video games may also struggle with issues such as depression, low-self-esteem, high stress levels, and shyness / social anxiety. If they recognize the problems that excessive gaming is causing yet are unable to control it, they may also experience feelings of shame, guilt, or a sense of powerlessness. Note that while video game addiction can almost certainly be made worse by other psychological issues (e.g., depressed mood), it may also contribute to these problems in a circular fashion (e.g., depression encouraging excessive gaming, which makes the depression worse, which leads to more gaming…).

    2. Physical and Health

    Obviously, if one’s weekly activities are largely comprised of playing video games, health (and occasionally personal hygiene) may be neglected. People with an addiction to video games may no longer take part in previously enjoyed physical activities or exercise, may develop poor sleeping habits depending on gaming schedules, and may often choose unhealthy foods that simply are convenient to eat while gaming.

    An addiction to video games can cause problems within the family. For example, parents of a teenager who is addicted to video games may tolerate excessive gaming for a while (and hope that it goes away by itself), but if their child shows no signs of getting his gaming under control they will eventually demand change. The teen may become angry at his parents for “interfering” in his life, deny that it is causing any problems, and claim that it is “none of your business”. Families with a child or teen who is addicted to video games often have daily arguments about time limits on games and the neglect of other responsibilities.

    4. Financial

    Even for players who are not addicted, video games can be a very expensive form of entertainment. It is very easy to spend thousands of dollars on computer upgrades, new gaming consoles, subscriptions to online services, newly released games, and the latest expansion packs. Occasionally, people with an addiction to video games may be fired due to poor performance on the job (for example, prioritizing gaming over job responsibilities, playing games while at work, frequently showing up late, or missing work entirely in favor of gaming).

    5. School / University

    Academic success is often one of most obvious causalities of video game addiction. Children, teens, and university students who spend all their free time playing video games will almost certainly see their grades deteriorate. They may ignore upcoming deadlines, promise to study “tomorrow”, deny that they have homework, and rush through assignments so that they can continue playing.

    6. Interpersonal Impact

    As someone addicted to video games spends more and more hours in front of a computer or television screen, time spent with other people (friends and family) necessarily decreases. One-to-one in person contact with others is minimized and online / virtual contact is increased. For those who rarely spend time with others in person, online-only friends may not prevent a gaming addict from feeling socially isolated and disconnected from the world around him / her.

    Ready to stop an addiction to video games?
    You can download TechAddiction’s treatment workbooks right now!

    Every child must be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse on the internet.

    Children are spending more time online than ever before. And they’re getting there sooner. Around the world, a child goes online for the first time every half second.

    Growing up online offers limitless opportunities. Through computers, smartphones, gaming consoles, and televisions, children learn, imagine and develop their social networks. When used in the right way – and accessible to all – the internet has the potential to broaden horizons and ignite creativity the world over.

    But with these opportunities come serious risks.

    Cyberbullying and other forms of peer-to-peer violence can affect young people each time they log in to social media or instant messaging platforms. When browsing the internet, children may be exposed to hate speech and violent content – including messages that incite self-harm and even suicide.

    Children can also be put at risk when tech companies breach their privacy to collect data for marketing purposes. Child-targeted marketing through apps – and the excessive screen time it often results in – can compromise a child’s healthy development.

    More than a third of young people in 30 countries report being cyberbullied, with 1 in 5 skipping school because of it.

    Most alarming is the threat of online sexual exploitation and abuse. It has never been easier for child sex offenders to contact their potential victims, share imagery and encourage others to commit offences. Children may be victimized through the production, distribution and consumption of sexual abuse material, or they may be groomed for sexual exploitation, with abusers attempting to meet them in person or exhort them for explicit content.

    In the digital world, any person from any location can create and store sexually exploitative content. Child sex offenders may even livestream sexual abuse from the confines of their homes, directing on-demand abuse of children far away.

    Some 80% of children in 25 countries report feeling in danger of sexual abuse or exploitation online.

    As children embrace more digital platforms, they too may self-generate sexually explicit imagery. And though these images might be intended for an age-appropriate relationship, they can end up widely shared without consent. Sometimes, trusted adults solicit children to share imagery. For a child victim, this may result in social isolation, mental health issues, substance abuse, self-harm or suicide, as well as an increased likelihood of exhibiting abusive behaviours themselves in adulthood.

    UNICEF’s response

    What happens online reflects the realities children face every day – at home, at school and in their wider communities.

    Strategies to promote online safety must protect the educational and health benefits of digital technologies, while addressing the risks of exposure to violence, exploitation, and abuse, as well as to privacy breaches.

    UNICEF works to make the internet a safe place for children to learn, socialize and express themselves. We partner with governments to advocate for necessary regulation, and with tech companies to promote the use of acceptable safety measures on their platforms. We also support ministries of education to teach children digital-literacy and online-safety skills.

    Through our Global Kids Online and Disrupting Harm projects, we gather evidence on children’s digital rights, opportunities and risks to better understand how use of digital technology contributes to their lives – and when it amplifies their risk of harm.

    How does UNICEF address the online sexual exploitation of children?

    UNICEF prevents and responds to the online sexual exploitation of children at the country and global level. We support coordinated national responses to online child sexual exploitation in over 20 countries – using the WePROTECT Global Alliance model – and strengthen the capacity of on-the-ground responders to provide services to victims. We work closely with governments to guide investments in evidence-based preventive programmes and awareness-raising. And we collaborate with tech companies to make digital products safer for children, providing industry guidelines and developing cutting-edge tools to stop the circulation of child sexual abuse materials.

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    Whether you play games on your PC or mobile, there are precautions you need to take to keep your devices and data secure.

    We all love playing online games; from time to time until late in the night on our mobile devices, gaming consoles, or computer. One of the most amazing things about gaming now, is that we are connected to the whole world and can interact with each other in many ways. To do so, we are required to set up accounts on game platforms and talk to people we don’t know at all.

    With this new level of activity comes risks, especially from viruses, identity theft, and phishing attacks. But you can keep enjoying your gaming session and meeting new people if you are aware of these and protect yourself.


    Phishing is a scamming technique that consists of sending emails that look like they are official communications from a real company. They usually concern a problem with your account or an important message inviting you to click on a link.

    The risk is that the link will lead to a hoax site that asks you to enter personal information such as your username and password. Unfortunately, since it’s not legitimate, the information you enter goes to cybercriminals and your account is then compromised and your information stolen.

    Nowadays, attackers are really good in designing emails and copycat websites with fraudulent URLs which look the same as your favorite game, so we recommend that you type the URL of the website into your browser instead of clicking on the link and go directly to your account to see for yourself if something is really wrong.

    What to do if you are phished

    We recommend that you change your account information immediately if this happens and forward the email to the game developer’s abuse department.

    You can easily manager all your passwords, and change them when necessary, by using Avast Passwords. It’s available for PC, Android, iOS, adn just recently released, Avast Passwords for Mac.

    Viruses and malware

    Cybercriminals are interested in targeting gamers more than ever before because of the popularity of games on all devices. The sheer numbers provide ample opportunity to steal account information and credit cards.

    How to protect your system from infection

    Be sure your machine and your software are up-to-date, and if you think you have been infected by a virus, scan your system with an antivirus software such as Avast Antivirus .

    With Avast installed, you can stay protected without worrying about lag or performance issues . Avast Free Antivirus was at the top of the list compared to 19 other security solutions in October’s Performance Test Report conducted by AV-Comparatives testing lab.

    You also won’t be annoyed by interruptions. When you’re playing on your PC, Avast provides a gaming mode that protects you without showing you any alerts or notifications.

    A common way for gamers to pick up an infection is by downloading from shady sites. We recommend that you only download games, add-ons, and patches from trusted sites where you can see security certificates such as the HTTPS green padlock.

    If you like to play with cheats, be particularly careful. All Avast’s paid PC security products come with a sandbox. The Avast Sandbox lets you run a questionable program without risking the safety or security of your computer.

    Mobile users also need to be aware of malware and act to protect your device and data. Avast Mobile Security protects against viruses and malware that cause popups and unwanted ads, plus it helps protect your privacy by alerting you to unecessary permissions that some apps require.

    Identity theft

    Cybercriminals collect personally identifiable information in order to build profiles on potential victims. When playing multi-player games, it’s very common to have a chat functions to talk with other players, so please only share the minimum information with other users even if you consider the other players as friends. When you create online profiles containing sensitive information such as your name, phone number, and house address, keep it private or don’t share with others if it’s not necessary.

    If you have children, we recommend you to use parental controls to restrict access to chat functionality or make them aware not to share this type of information.

    Social engineering scams

    This technique is as old as dirt, and simply means tricking someone into giving away vital information. In the case of gamers, it could be your account, virtual goods, or even your credit card number. One common scam, is that someone on a chat will ask you to add him or her on a social network, such as the one on Steam, because they pretend to know one of your friends. The solution is to never click on the link they send you because you simply don’t know this person at all.

    Webcam control

    Anybody with a bit of knowledge or a nearby search engine, can learn how to take the control of your webcam , so when you don’t use your webcam make sure that your default setting is turned to off. One of the best solutions is to cover it with paper or tape.

    Now that you are aware of these risks and you know how to be protected, you can enjoy your favorite games without any the worry of seeing your game turn into a nightmare.

    If I asked you to identify the biggest asshole in your life right now, how quickly would you be able to come up with a name? Some of us might be able to list three or four assholes with whom we interact on a daily basis, plus all of the anonymous assholes who cut us off in traffic, cut in front of us in line, and otherwise make our lives miserable.

    I interviewed Robert Sutton, Stanford business professor and author of The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt, to learn how to identify an asshole, how to deal with assholes, and how to get rid of assholes when necessary.

    How to identify an asshole

    Want to know how to identify the assholes in your life? Start with your own emotional responses. “You have an asshole problem if you are dealing with somebody who leaves you feeling demeaned, de-energized, disrespected,” Sutton says. “Somebody who makes you feel like dirt.”

    The problem is that sometimes our feelings can play tricks on us, and the meta-emotions surrounding issues of workplace and family hierarchy mean that we might be too quick to ascribe assholery to what might otherwise be called assertiveness or boundary-setting. (No, your kids aren’t assholes for not enthusiastically responding to your “how was your day?” interrogation every time they return from school—even though their unwillingness to talk might make you feel like dirt.)

    Stop Asking Your Kid About Their Day

    Don’t ask your kid what happened at school that day. Just don’t.

    Father’s Day CBD Bundle

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    Well, send him a bundle of calming CBD products made from USDA-certified organic, Kentucky-grown, whole-flower hemp oil, at least.

    If you want to be sure that you’re dealing with a true asshole, look for clearly obnoxious behaviors, especially those that are intentionally demeaning or rude. Another good way to tell if someone is an asshole is to ask other people for confirmation: are they interpreting this person’s behavior in the same way you are?

    Keep in mind that there’s a difference between a person who occasionally exhibits asshole behavior and a certified asshole. As Sutton explains: “All of us, under the wrong conditions, can be temporary assholes. Certified assholes are people who consistently make people feel like dirt over time.”

    There’s also one more reason you might feel like you’re surrounded by assholes: you’re actually the asshole. “You’re treating people like dirt and they’re throwing the shit back,” says Sutton.

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    How to deal with assholes

    There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for dealing with assholes. If the assholery is run-of-the-mill, non-abusive stuff (think line cutters, interrupters, those people who make every conversation about themselves or feel obligated to comment on every little thing you do), you might have to grin and bear it—literally.

    “Reframe the situation,” Sutton advises, “so it doesn’t touch your soul and it doesn’t upset you quite so much.”

    Sutton suggests taking one of five strategies:

    • Don’t take it personally.
    • Decide that you’re going to find the asshole hilarious. (It’s best to keep your amusement to yourself—which is also part of the fun.)
    • Create physical or emotional distance between yourself and the asshole. If you’re sharing a conference room with an asshole, sit as far away from them as possible. If one of your relatives is an asshole on social media, mute or unfollow them so you no longer see (or emotionally respond to) their posts.
    • Tell yourself you’re conducting a psychological study of assholery. Keep a tally of how many times your coworker interrupts someone, or how often your friend’s new significant other dominates the conversation.
    • Be nice to the asshole—as pleasant and unruffled as possible. Don’t react to or otherwise encourage their behavior.
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    How to get rid of an asshole

    If an asshole is abusive, or if they’re making so many people feel like dirt that it’s causing significant problems, it might be time to get rid of the asshole.

    The first step in getting rid of an asshole, Sutton advises, is to consider how much power you have over them. Do you have the power to fire them? Can you stop inviting them to group events or family gatherings? Sometimes it’s relatively easy to remove an asshole from a situation—although it’s never easy to tell someone that they’re being laid off.

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    In this Article

    • Signs to Watch For
    • Getting Help
    • Preventing a Gaming Problem

    It’s great to do things you enjoy. But can you go too far with a hobby? And at what point does it become an addiction? That’s the question experts are trying to answer about playing video games.

    Even though gaming has been around for almost 50 years, studies about its harms are still in the early stages. Different groups have come to different conclusions about whether problem playing should be called an addiction.

    The World Health Organization added “gaming disorder” to the 2018 version of its medical reference book, International Classification of Diseases. But the American Psychiatry Association’s manual, the DSM-5, didn’t. (So far, gambling is the only “activity” listed as a possible addiction.)

    Signs to Watch For

    The DSM-5 does include a section to help people and doctors know the warning signs of problem video gaming. These problems can happen whether you play online or offline.

    Here’s what to look for in yourself or someone close to you — your partner, a child, or a friend. You need to have five or more of these signs in 1 year to have a problem, according to criteria that were proposed in the DSM-5:

    • Thinking about gaming all or a lot of the time
    • Feeling bad when you can’t play
    • Needing to spend more and more time playing to feel good
    • Not being able to quit or even play less
    • Not wanting to do other things that you used to like
    • Having problems at work, school, or home because of your gaming
    • Playing despite these problems
    • Lying to people close to you about how much time you spend playing
    • Using gaming to ease bad moods and feelings

    Of course, not everyone who plays a lot has a problem with gaming. Some experts say that it’s harmful to label people who might just be very enthusiastic about gaming. One thing they do agree on is that the percentage of players who meet the proposed criteria for addiction to video games is small. It’s estimated to be somewhere between 1% and 9% of all gamers, adults and kids alike. (It’s more common in boys and men than girls and women.)

    It may help to start by asking yourself a few questions: Does your video gaming get in the way of other important things in your life, like your relationships, your job, or going to school? Do you feel like you’ve crossed the line between loving to playing and having to play? Might you be using gaming to avoid a deeper problem, like depression?

    It can be hard to see a problem in yourself. The amount of time you spend gaming might seem fine to you. But if people close to you say it’s too much, it might be time to think about cutting back.

    If you’re a parent who’s concerned about the amount of time your child spends gaming, look at how well they are doing at school and with friends. Having good grades and a good relationship with parents are signs that a child’s video gaming is unlikely to be a problem.

    Getting Help

    Get help from your doctor or therapist — or your child’s pediatrician, if the person you’re concerned about is your son or daughter — as soon as you think that gaming time is getting out of hand.

    Studies about treating video game addiction are also in the early stages. One therapy that can help is called CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy. This is mental health counseling that teaches you how to replace thoughts about gaming to help change behavior.

    If you’re the parent of a gamer, a therapist can show you how to place limits on your child’s playing time if you have a hard time saying no. One study found that making parents part of a child’s treatment makes it work better.

    Preventing a Gaming Problem

    To keep the amount of time spent gaming under control, try these tips for adults and kids alike:

    1. Set time limits for play and stick to them.
    2. Keep phones and other gadgets out of the bedroom so you won’t play into the night.
    3. Do other activities every day, including exercise. This will lower the health risks of sitting and playing for long stretches of time.

    No one knows whether certain kinds of games are more likely to lead to problem gaming. For the time being, make sure that your child is only playing games rated for their age.