In today’s digital era, the internet and video games have become integral parts of our daily lives, particularly among young individuals. However, with their growing popularity, an alarming issue has emerged – toxicity. Recently, a round table discussion titled “Fostering Responsible Online Behavior” was held at the A1 Adria League Finals during the Reboot Games Weekend as part of the #BoljiOnline campaign. Experts and enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds discussed crucial topics, such as the minimum age for social media profiles, responsible conduct on the internet and in multiplayer video games, and ways to educate individuals about creating a safer online environment.
Toxicity is a raising issue
Responsible behavior, as defined by Martina Nikolić from the Center for Safer Internet, entails actions that do not harm oneself or others. In contrast, behavior aimed at causing harm, including toxicity, is considered a form of online violence. Whether it occurs on social media platforms, internet communities, or during multiplayer gaming sessions, addressing these issues and enhancing education are crucial for creating a safer digital space for everyone.
Ena Lucija Kovač, co-founder of Zagreb Tekken Showdown and an esports tournament organizer, mentioned commendable preventive measures in video games like League of Legends and Valorant. However, Martina pointed out that the situation on social media platforms remains far from ideal. Alarmingly, according to DeShame research conducted in collaboration with A1 Hrvatska by the Center for Safer Internet, half of high school students do not report instances of online sexual harassment. Additionally, merely blocking abusive users, which constitutes the response of the other half, falls short of effectively deterring such misconduct.
Addressing these challenges requires education. Luka Karlić, a student from PMF, lamented the lack of focus on such matters during his high school education. Comprehensive education targeting not only youngsters but also parents, students, esports organizers, moderators, and internet community leaders is essential. The Center for Safer Internet offers various educational resources on its official website, www.csi.hr, and has developed a specialized page, https://influensajodgovorno.hr/, to tackle these issues.
Promoting responsible behavior
Promoting responsible behavior on the internet does not mean implementing categorical bans. Prohibiting communication in online multiplayer games would stifle the crucial social aspect that fosters camaraderie and friendship. Similarly, enforcing total internet and social media bans can have unintended consequences. Instead, empowering younger individuals through education and communication, with guidance from responsible adults, is the path towards a safer digital environment.
In the event of encountering any form of electronic harassment or violence on any platform, individuals are encouraged to reach out to the Center for Safer Internet via their anonymous hotline at 0800 606 606 or through their official social media profiles.
By collectively embracing the responsibility of nurturing responsible online behavior, we can shape a digital world that is respectful, inclusive, and secure for all users.