Press X to block harassment

Press X to block harassment

For a long time, it seemed that more girls were finding their way into gaming. However, new research points to the opposite. Why do so many girls stop gaming? 

Gaming has become the world's most popular leisure activity among young people, and it is only becoming more popular. Research shows that gaming can improve people’s capacity for problem solving, multitasking and memorization, in addition to being a fun and social activity.   

However, over the last two years, the share of girls who play video games in Norway has fallen from 76% to 59%. The reason is unknown. Where did all the girls go? A report from the KORUS East competency center could give us a clue as to why.  

In order to learn more about young boys and girls who spend a lot of their time playing video games, KORUS East has collected data from over 100,000 students between the ages of 13 and 16. These girls and boys often have very different experiences. Whereas boys often get a sense of achievement and social belonging, it is the complete opposite for many girls. In many cases, they experience ostracism, bullying and sexual harassment.   

- A game within the game 

Some will change their gamer tag, others use a voice distorter. In any case, the point remains the same: They are hiding their true identity. By pretending to be one of the guys, girls protect themselves from unwanted attention or worse. Many have fled from server to server, looking for a space to play like everyone else. 

- Girls have to play a game within the game, and it's stressing them out! Pretending to be someone else makes it much more difficult to build relationships. That’s the issue at its core, and we need to find a solution, says Beate Våje, Senior Adviser at the Norwegian Media Authority. 

- How many geniuses are we missing out on? 

Beate Våje from the Norwegian Media Authority refers to a study conducted by the University of Surrey which presents a critical issue: Girls who play video games at a young age are over three times more likely to study maths, science and technology. How many geniuses are we going to miss out on due to this culture of harassment and exclusion?  

What can we do? 

- The most important thing we can do is to support whoever is subjected to harassment. In a room of ten people, only two might speak up while one gets bullied and seven say nothing. We will try to get those seven people to understand that this is unacceptable, says Beate. 

Apeks’ Breaking the Mould is dedicated to creating a safe space to play for everyone who loves gaming or cares about those who do. It is time for the world's most popular pastime to become more inclusive. Read more about us here.