Another very worthy initiative here launched by the students of Stevenson University in Baltimore Country, Maryland US.

The campaign asks for individuals to ‘Be A STAR’ and take a pledge to help make online gaming a safer space – and Women in Games encourages our community to support this initiative.

The campaigners say: “Women who play video games can attest that the gaming community can be very toxic and sexist to females when they play. There are numerous examples of this online, and it is a cause for concern. From murder or rape threats to verbal abuse, the ferocity of the harassment differs, and experiences are different. Some women just choose to ignore it, or they may report the behavior, but the hard truth is that more needs to be done to stop this behavior from continuing, especially from the bystanders.

“Moderation systems on video game consoles and throughout games themselves can be faulty. Someone can be punished for not doing anything wrong, or the punishment an offender receives can be trivial and meaningless. There are no real-life consequences for people who spread their hate and anger in online spaces.

“Another part of the problem comes in when people who witness harassment or abuse don’t speak up about it. The bystander may be scared or may not want to be involved in a heated verbal exchange, but when someone who is doing something wrong does not receive any backlash, they believe that they can continue acting that way. Becoming involved and standing up for people that are receiving harassment is exactly what gamers need to do.

“That is what this pledge is about. If we attack the sexism and verbal violence at the root, then we stand a chance at breaking down the patterns and systems behind the behavior.”

Women in Games CEO Marie-Claire Isaaman offered: “This is a brilliant initiative by the Stevenson University students, and something that very much aligns with one of our key priority areas. We commend the campaign and urge our community to take the pledge and support it.”

 You can take the pledge here.