Online gaming is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. The rapid growth of the Internet has led to an upsurge in the number of people playing online games. Online gaming requires no special hardware and makes use of any computer that connects to the Internet. An online game is generally a video or computer game that is either largely or partially played over the Internet or some other network accessible through the Internet. Games like EverQuest, Linea I and II and Ultima Online are some of the most popular online games today.
Many issues have been raised against online gaming, primarily because of problems regarding harassment. Some of these problems have been serious, others less so. Recently there was an expose of an online gaming website where game players had been contacted by “spammers” in order to encourage them to join a so-called “raid” or “barter” service in which they exchange personal and financial information in order to buy game credits. Several large corporations were eventually forced to close the site down.
Children may find online gaming attractive because they allow them to play with others from all around the world and sometimes from far away. Although they are free to contact other players, they do not have the same freedoms as they would in real-life confrontations or dealing with others who may attempt to abuse their trust. For example, if a player contacts another player in order to get help for a problem they may be unable to get that help if that person fails to honor their request for assistance or does not act responsibly. Online harassment can come in the form of verbal messages, electronic mail messages and physical threats as well as sexual advances.
Many experts have suggested that many games today, such as those found on websites like EverQuest and Linea I and II, actually exist within a virtual reality that the players are not aware of until they are too late. Gamers often spend long periods of time engaged in virtual reality and during this time a variety of disturbing activities take place. For example, players often engage in role-playing, which involves the use of deception and harassment. In real-time situations, many players may be able to recognize that another player is enjoying themselves, but when playing online their unconscious mind is hardwired to ignore the fact that others are engaging in these activities.
On many occasions, websites offering free online games may attract gamers who are looking to develop new skills or enjoy using new computer applications that the site owner claims are “freemium”. Freemium games have become infamous over the years because many of them are poor quality and buggy. Unfortunately, some premium sites also encourage gamers to obtain passwords and user information in order to gain access to special items that the website offers. Many times this includes video games, pornography or other inappropriate content that may harm the moral sensibilities of potential future customers.
The sad reality is that the rapid growth of the World Wide Web has led to an increase in On-line harassment and video games. Many of the games involve strategy and often include sophisticated computer code that enables players to plan elaborate attacks on their opponents and strategies for eliminating these opponents with minimal effort. Due to the complexity of many of these games, it is very likely that inexperienced gamers with limited computer skills and/or no other interest in the game are developing accounts that provide them with a venue to engage in an on-line harassment. The solution to this problem is for online gaming websites to implement policies that ban anyone from using intimidation tactics in their games, in order to protect their customers from becoming the victims of On-line harassment.