Stand up against harassment: What does it mean?

Stand up against harassment: What does it mean?

This week we have a campaign with an interactive poster at Stortinget subway station in Oslo. Standing in one specific spot activates a sound clip with a plethora of harassment. By pressing a button, the harassment stops. The sign encourages every passerby to use their voice and stand up against harassment. But what does that really mean?

For those of you who are not gamers

Gaming is the world's largest entertainment industry. It’s three times bigger than the music industry and four times the size of the film industry. You definitely know a gamer or two. Maybe you haven't noticed, not being a gamer yourself? Well, this is your opportunity to take notice and to talk about it. If you've seen the campaign or listened to the clip, you've just had to face the same kind of harassment gamers do. So how does it feel?

Our aim with this campaign is to start a conversation. Get people to talk about how unacceptable this is. How unbearable the situation is for many gamers. If we can start that conversation both in and outside of video games, between gamers and non-gamers alike, then we can create change.

So use your voice. Start a conversation. With a colleague, neighbour, or friend. Perhaps you know someone young who plays video games? Ask them about their experiences with harassment. Ask if anyone stood up for them. And make it clear where you stand.

Hør lydklippet her.

For those of you with children who play video games

If this campaign made you feel like rushing into your child's room to rip away their gaming equipment, you should continue reading instead. We know that this side of gaming can be a scary thing to see. However, it's important to know what your child may be experiencing, or even subjecting others to.

They need to know that they can come to you if something happens, without any risk of you taking away the hobby they love. They need to know that you can help them with the emotions that may arise from a situation like this. And they need to know that you have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.

If your child has contributed to harassing someone, they need to hear from you that that’s not okay. That people are still people, even behind a screen. You need to talk to them. Share your own experiences and ask about theirs. That way, you can navigate through this landscape together, and make gaming the positive experience it deserves to be.

For those of you who are gamers

You probably know where we’re going with this. Either you have experienced harassment, or you have seen or heard it happen. As a gamer, it's more or less impossible to be unaffected by this.

And this is our call to action: Do something different next time. Speak up. Resist. Use your voice and tell them it's not okay. Do not mute or leave the game in protest without speaking up first. Let them know that’s the reason you’re leaving. Stand up for someone else. Help create a positive vibe.

It may not feel like you're changing anything. But think about the person you're standing up for. Next time, maybe someone who heard you will do the same. That's how we set a new standard.

For those of you who felt unsure

Maybe it felt like some of those comments could have come from you? Maybe you have gotten carried away before and crossed the line? Maybe that’s just the vibe in many of the games you play.

That little seed of doubt needs water. Because this doesn't feel good. As someone who loves gaming, you don't want anyone to be left with that feeling. The feeling of hate drowning out their love for the game.

Use your own experience to make a difference. Speak up next time someone crosses the line. Stay on the right side of trash talk and harassment, and help others do the same.

For those of you who say “toughen up”

We're not trying to take away the competitive spirit or the light trash talk we all know (and love) about gaming. The competition to see who lands the most creative burn. We also love that video games can be a free space. However, no one should have to endure severe harassment. What is there to gain from such a hostile environment?

For gaming to be taken seriously, we need to address the elephant in the room. We can keep the wit and banter without letting people be harassed. Our culture benefits from letting people in and contributing what they can.

No matter who you are

Use this campaign as an entry point to start a conversation with the people around you, whether in-game or in a social setting. Ask the question – why is there so much harassment in gaming? What can we do to stop it? One thing is for sure – doing nothing will just make things worse. We have to put an end to it now.

And hey. Take our pledgeJoin the fight.