Singapore’s first youth gaming survey: 17% feel bullied online, 14% met strangers beyond games

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SINGAPORE – About one in five gamers between 13 and 18 years old feel they have been bullied in video games by other players, according to the first youth online gaming survey by the authorities.

Almost half of the 17 per cent who felt bullied did not tell their parents that they faced in-game bullying, with the majority of parents unclear about who their children gamed with.

For 14 per cent of the young people, online gaming blurred with reality as they engaged strangers they met online outside of gaming.

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) announced on Feb 13 these findings from the inaugural online gaming survey. It urged parents to pay more attention to their children’s online activities. The ministry will gradually roll out tools and courses to help parents.

The door-to-door survey was conducted between 2022 and 2023 among 810 pairs of Singaporean youth between 10 and 18 who played online games at least once a month and their parents, said MCI. Not all questions were posed to younger players between 10 and 13 years old.

The survey found that nearly half of the youth gamed daily, usually for two hours or more in each session.

More than a third of players between the ages of 13 and 18 have come across vulgarities online or violent content in games, especially in first-person shooter games.

Close to one in five players in this age group experienced in-game bullying. Examples of such bullying were not given.

Roughly a third of the gamers in the same age group would play with strangers online. This is a typical feature in massive online multiplayer games that allow players to converse as they play together.

Some players took these interactions beyond gaming, as 14 per cent of the respondents said they met the strangers personally, shared personal information with them or spoke with them on non-gaming topics.

“Such behaviour presents a risk of potential exposure to adult predators and online scams,” MCI said. “Parents generally had low awareness of their child’s gaming activities.”

Only half of the parents were able to give an accurate estimate of the time their children spent online, and a quarter of them were unaware of who their children gamed with.

Parents worried about their children’s gaming habits are more likely to set time limits and take other parental controls.

But a quarter of youth in this group would lie to their parents about ...

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