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Is Cyber-Harassment an Issue in the Online Casino World?
Cyber-harassment is more pervasive than ever, but is it an issue in the online casino community? The quick answer is… it depends. Now that Meta has launched personal boundary bubbles to protect avatars from being attacked, is there anywhere safe to engage socially online?
Chat Rooms are Common ‘Crime’ Scenes
If you are active on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you have probably been a victim of at least one cyber-attack. We are not jumping to conclusions here. According to a recent survey, 64% of adult respondents under the age of 30 have experienced some form of online harassment.
Although social networking sites are key hotspots, there are other problem platforms. The comments section of websites – and chat facilities in public forums, poker rooms and online casinos are common ‘crime’ scenes. It is unfortunate but true that there is a VR world that appears to be hosting the worst kind of human behaviour… and it isn’t pretty.
How Does Cyber-Abuse Affect Online Casino Patrons?
When it comes to harassment at an online casino, the chat room is the weak link. It is where verbal abuse and stalking has increasingly become a problem. Video gaming platforms and poker rooms are experiencing similar issues.
Players are hiding behind screens, usernames, avatars and remote locations, and conducting themselves in the most unbecoming manner. Intimidation, foul language and overt sexual harassment is effectively being enabled through anonymity.
Stalking, where players are followed from table to table as an intimidatory tactic, is increasingly being red flagged by online poker rooms. Terrorising fellow players now appears to be part of the ‘win at all costs’ tactics.
The chat box was designed as a player-to-player instant messenger service with strict rules of engagement. Sadly, not everyone has felt bound by the rules. Over the past few years, the chat box has become a vehicle of abuse. What is more, operators are not reacting swiftly enough to put the genie back in the bottle.
Live Dealer Casinos Linked to Chat Abuse
The only good news is chat rooms are almost exclusively restricted to live dealer casinos. Why only live dealer casinos? This is because they effectively operate in exactly the same way as brick-and-mortar casinos. Multiple players can join a table and compete against each other. Hence the need for player-to-player chat.
The traditional online casino – like Springbok Casino – does not support inter-player communication. It provides a live chat facility connecting players with customer support personnel. The only use of the online casino live chat is to provide real-time assistance to players. It is not a social feature but rather a live link between patrons and representatives of Springbok Casino.
That said, there are online casinos that do offer chat amongst players. It is usually a feature exclusively integrated into multiplayer gaming interfaces, like community slots and tournaments. Despite the social element created by real-time engagement, the negative use of chat is ringing alarm bells world-wide.
What is Behind the Systemic Rise of Cyber-Harassment?
Now that we narrowed down the ‘where’ of cyber harassment to social networking sites and chat boxes at poker rooms and live dealer online casinos, it is time to focus on the ‘why’. Why do more and more people aggressively attack others online?
According to behavioural psychologists, online harassment is linked to emotional issues. The people who do not know how to manage their emotions often attack randomly. They may be hurt, angry or annoyed. By lashing out at someone online, they let off steam and feel better.
That is one theory. The other has to do with consequences. When you abuse or harass someone in real life, you have to handle the fallout. When you are an inappropriate pest or a loose cannon online, there are no real consequences.
You can say and do whatever you want and the odds are you will get away scot-free. By hiding behind your online persona, you can behave as you never normally would – without any fear of being reprimanded for your actions.
The Personal Power Play
Then there is the power play. There are people who get a thrill from hurting others. These bullies are usually socially inept in the real world. They are cowards who consistently back down… until they hit the chat room at the online casino. Then, they turn into vicious thugs who get a high from other people’s distress.
Lastly, there are those who harass others out of jealousy or revenge. These are the likes of the scorned ex-partners who will do anything to humiliate and hurt and cause total destruction. These bullies are generally the most lethal of the lot. They know which buttons to press and have plenty of personal information that can be used with ill-intent.
Why Meta Had to Take Measures Against Virtual Harassment
Facebook’s metaverse may be a new phenomenon – but it has already recorded horrific incidences of cyber-abuse. One of the events involved the assault by a gang of four male avatars, with a female avatar being the victim. This event happened within a minute of her joining the virtual world.
Besides the actual attack on her avatar, the victim was verbally abused by the men who went as far as to suggest that she secretly liked what had happened. The woman, who promptly exited the metaverse, claimed to be experiencing high levels of anxiety ever since.
In order to protect avatars in their virtual world, Meta has introduced the ‘personal boundary’ feature. It is a 1.2 metre social distancing bubble surrounding each avatar. Any other avatar that attempts to breach the bubble is automatically stopped in its tracks.
It is rather bizarre and morbid to think that we live in a world where needing to implement a distancing feature for virtual personas is necessary. This is the reality that unfortunately goes with having access to the evolved technology that we do. Kudos to Meta for taking action!
Is cyber-harassment a problem at the online casino? No, not if it is a conventional online gaming platform like Springbok Casino. That said, abuse and thuggery does appear to be a major issue online… and we should all be very, very cautious! It might be virtual abuse but it can have dire consequences on the psyche of the actual person behind the avatar.
At Springbok Casino, we treat all our players with the respect they deserve. We also expect the same level of civility for our friendly and knowledgeable live chat consultants who will always go above and beyond to assist. In the end, if we all behave in a respectful manner, the world is a much better place – whether it happens to be real or virtual!