Think cyberbullying is something that only happens on Snapchat and Instagram? Think again. According to a government report, 200,000 Aussie kids a year are being bullied while playing multiplayer online games.
Rapid innovation in Australia’s billion-dollar gaming and e-sports industries means the boundaries between social media and online gaming are going the way of Atari and Pac-man.
The report, published this month by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, found that only 20% of kids aged 8-17 do not play online games. Among the remaining 80%, half report playing with strangers they’ve met online.
One in five bullied
Nearly one in five multiplayer gamers has experienced in-game bullying. That works out to more than 200,000 young Australians. The study showed that 11-12-year-olds were particularly vulnerable.
Most bullying occurs in games through chat features, which in most cases can be turned off in game settings. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they can also be easily turned back on.
Kids funding the industry
In-app purchases made by children are a big part of the reason Australia’s billion-dollar gaming industry is worth, well, billions. The report found that more than a third of the nation’s children made an in-game purchase in the 12 months to June 2017. Among boys, the figure was over 50%.
Across Australia, industry estimates suggest games and associated hardware generated A$3.2 billion in sales in 2017. Globally, the industry is worth upwards of US$100 billion, and is projected to grow by 70% by 2020.
It's not just kids. Gamers are getting older all the time.
Despite the growth in the kids’ market, on the whole, gamers are getting older, not younger. In 2004, the average age of a gamer was 24. Today, it’s 34.
Summary of findings
Here’s a summary of the key findings:
Do you have some young gamers in your life? If you’re concerned about the quality or the quantity of time they’re spending online, Family Zone can help.
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