Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Why Bullying Back Doesn't Work

You may have seen a few postings about a new network of people calling themselves Bully Hunters. They claimed to be representing those who have been harassed in games, and fight against the bullies by diving into the content, and digitally bullying back. Last week they announced their presences in CS:Go as an elite team of pro female gamers. The idea is to beat back the bullies by winning the games - defeating the opponents. It had the support of a few streamers and the National Organization for Women (note: these people did not provide monetary support to the project). Which is weird that people are okay with combating bullying with more bullying. The thin line that Bully Hunters had to not cross was making sure they didn't harass back. The point of the team is to go in covertly and beat the bullies at the game they are playing. Not to harass or throw down shade.

As of yesterday, the project has ended. A lot of concern has been brought up by the gaming community (and rightly so) coupled with a disastrous first stream spelled an early death for Bully Hunters. Once Bully Hunters went public, people were quick to research the history of the streamers affiliated with them - finding some had a past of using racial and homophobic slurs during live events. Even the way that the stream was to be held was raising red flags. Companies that originally supported the group are now distancing themselves.

Bullying and harassment in the gaming world needs to be addressed and stopped. But it goes beyond fixing what's happening in games. It's also a social issue that affects us in our daily lives: work, home, school, church, etc. If there is anything that I've learned in my years of being bullied, it's that fighting back like a bully only makes things worse. You're more likely to be targeted, picked on, and harassed. There is a literal and figurative moral high ground you need to take. Talk to your parents and teachers or get the police involved if it's serious enough. Don't give any attention to your bullies (seriously, this is one of the biggest reasons why people bully - for the attention). Don't give them the time of day. Keep living your life. Ignore them. And eventually they will get the idea and leave you be. Pro Tip: You should still report them so they don't harass someone else.

If you think this is where the Bully Hunters saga ends, you'd be wrong. Because of course the founder is receiving a wall of hate, violence, and death threats on her social media. It's a woman trying to combat bullying in video games. That's already put a target on her. And it's unfortunate that people are doing this. It's further exemplifying the need to address and stop harassment. The people commenting can hide behind the cloud of "Bully Hunters is wrong" while they issue their threats, but that doesn't remove them from their actions. You can criticize something (as I did in the previous paragraph) without turning it into hate. But if Bully Hunters wanted to show how big the problem was, they certainly did!

Gamers, we have a long way to go. But it's a bigger problem than bullying in games. It's bullying and harassment in society that needs to be addressed for there to be a resolution.

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