University of Oulu

Cyberbullying on World of Warcraft : experiences of Finnish gamers

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Author: Valanne, Ville1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Pages: 48
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : V. Valanne, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-09-24
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Hartikainen, Heidi
Reviewer: Kinnula, Marianne
Hartikainen, Heidi


We use Internet and play games over the Internet connection more than ever. Many researchers have noticed that cyberbullying on the Internet is increasing and it is a significant problem between young people, also on online games. In this thesis, I focus on a Finnish gamers of Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) named World of Warcraft (WoW), and examine 1) what kind of cyberbullying they have encountered or witnessed, 2) What kind of experiences they have concerning dealing with cyberbullying, and 3) what are their experiences of the support developers, service providers, or other parties are offering to cope and prevent cyberbullying.

The research was carried out in two parts: First, a literature review was carried out in order to identify what kind of research is ongoing concerning cyberbullying in games, as well as support available to gamers experiencing cyberbullying. Then, empirical research was carried out through four semi-structured interviews with Finnish gamers. The data from the interviews was analysed using theory-guided content analysis.

This thesis provides the reader up-to-date information about current situation of cyberbullying on MMOGs in Finland. The results of the thesis suggest that cyberbullying in WoW is very common issue between Finnish gamers. The results of the interviews showed that cyberbullying is a noteworthy issue and should be increasingly taken into account by both players and game providers to reduce it. The thesis also identifies new ways to cyberbully that were not discussed in earlier literature or were not found during the literature review process: steam sniping, racism and swatting.

Racism is a comprehensive concept of cyberbullying act in games but one female participant said that someone called her as gay while another participant talked about racism in games in general level just like it might happen in real life. Stream sniping is way to do cyberbullying where player itself streams his/hers gaming over the Internet in real-time and other people are able to watch it live. On the aspect of WoW, stream sniping can be used as harass meanings. Streamer itself shows private game information to other people (e.g. game server and location in-game) so other players are able to use that private information of the streamer and then kill him/her for example. Swatting is part of live streaming as well where someone calls to the emergency service and does a false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency about someone, on this case, a streamer and this is called as a criminal harassment tactic. So, because of this false report FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) or equivalent direction raids the streamer’s home while the stream is on. These phenomena warrant future research.

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Copyright information: © Ville Valanne, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.