Some female gamers were ‘gender swapping’ online because they had received sexist comments from trolls.
Almost two-thirds of gamers have admitted to ‘trolling’ other users in online video games, new research has revealed. Cyberpsychologists at Nottingham Trent University have carried out the first ever study of trolling in online games to understand the frequency, types and reasons for trolling – a phenomenon which involves intentionally provoking or antagonising users in an online environment.
Types of trolling spanned racism, sexism, deliberately ‘griefing’ other users via in-game behaviours – such as persistently killing or blocking own team members – and creating false or misleading scenarios just to elicit a response. Trolling in video games was often textual, auditory, or in the form of physical in-game actions, the researchers found.
Professor Mark Griffiths, the director of Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit, said: “Although this was an exploratory study, we were surprised at the relatively high level of trolling that had occurred amongst the players we surveyed. As far as we are aware, this is the first ever published study of trolling within online gaming environments so we hope it will kick-start other research teams to replicate or challenge our findings”.Most gamers played between 16 and 20 hours a week and the most popular video game genre was roleplaying games (32.8%) followed by first person shooter games (26.4%) and action games (16.8%).