Parents less aware of impact of trolls* in online gaming

According to Canadian statistics, Canadian girls grades 4-11 face stricter rules about their online activities than boys do. At the same time, boys (60%) are more likely than girls (27%) to access the internet through gaming platforms. (Reference)

While it is true that online environments in general ARE more hostile to girls and women (Wikipedia) and that may justify having stricter rules for girls, SafeOnline advocates paying more attention to what the boys are doing online and applying the same level of boundaries for boys as girls. Boys require as much support, education and protection about online safety as our girls.

Because boys are more likely to access the internet through a gaming platform, they may be less supervised. This means parents and caregivers are less aware of the recreational trolling (Wikipedia) and unhealthy culture (Time) their boys are exposed to while gaming. While your daughter may pop up in your Facebook feed or come to you to talk about online drama, boys are less likely to consult with an adult when they are distressed about online abuse. Online gaming does not appear to be on parents’ and educators’ radar as much as social media.

Did You Know?

  • There are YouTube channels that feature trolling videos to watch other people  tease, torment and taunt other players in games?
  • Much of trolling happens to children playing games that are rated well above their actual age—the most notorious places to be trolled include 17+ games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty.
  • Many social media companies are working on technological solutions to trolling.


*In internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.

**MediaSmarts Survey, 2013, conducted a national survey of 5,436 Canadian students, grades 4 through 11, in 140 schools. The report, Life Online, is the first in a series of reports examining the data collected.

Trolling is an important topic covered in our ‘Your Life Online’
presentations for students, parents and educators!

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