Both online dating and online gaming are fast-growing industries that are increasingly becoming a regular part of life. Online dating has rapidly gained in popularity as a common way to connect to potential dates or find a partner. And, contrary to popular perception, online gaming is not just a pastime for teenage boys. Many people have concerns about the safety of online dating, often due to widely publicized stories of assault and abuse, and unfortunately, online harassment is an all-too-common experience while playing games online, that can also cross into real life.
Everyone should be able to be online safely, free from harassment and abuse, and that includes dating and gaming. For survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, privacy and safety concerns may be even greater when trying to engage in online spaces. Fortunately, it is possible to increase privacy and safety when dating and gaming online.
Two new resources from Safety Net discuss both risks and strategies, for survivors who want to be active in online dating or gaming communities.
Harassment, threats, and abuse that happen “only” online should be taken seriously. Such experiences can be traumatizing, and may include financial crime or identity theft. Victims report efforts to ruin their reputations and drive them from the online community. If enough identifying information is known, the abuse can also quickly become an offline threat.
If you are concerned about online harassment or abuse, see our Survivor Toolkit for more information about Online Privacy & Safety Tips, guides to Facebook and Twitter, and for resources to assist in documenting abuse.
Online harassment and abuse may fall under a number of crimes, depending on what is happening. To learn more about laws in your state on online harassment, visit WomensLaw.org.