Project Summary


In the relatively new industry of online gaming, a new trend has been observed in the type of speech seen between players. The increased amount of social interactions that combine the competitiveness of the games with the anonymity of the Internet lead to new problems. Cases of “griefing”, harassment, and trash-talking on online gaming are becoming more prevalent and part of the interactive gaming environment.

Our research seeks to answer the questions as to whether this phenomenon is helpful or harmful in today’s society.  We will seek to find whether the harmful aspects in online games will outweigh the positive aspects achieved in further social interactions.  We will also explore how the virtual space in games improves the quality of the gaming experience, but will also consider the negative aspects that come from the anonymity component of online gaming.

Some interesting components are the demographics involved in the games of interest.  The gaming industry has grown such that it has few boundaries in terms of the people that play them, but this could have negative repercussions, as you will often end up mixing people in social interactions that could be detrimental.  Probably one of the most harmful people that could be hurt by the range of gamers are children, as they are exposed to things like racism, sexism, and foul language in online gaming.

Lastly, we will consider how to improve the online gaming experience by looking into possible solutions to the type of negative speech encountered while playing these games.  We will consider the role of freedom of speech but also offer the possibility of restricting harmful speech.  If it is decided that some level of censorship is the best route, we will discuss whether a regulating body is necessary or should the consequences fall on the individuals.
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