We know many so many families who love online gaming for its temporary escape into cool unique realms and the connection with others who love to play as much as we do. But sometimes real-world problems can follow us into our online games; bullying, harassment, or feelings of inadequacy or depression can persist after we set down the controller.
That’s why we hope more gamers get to know the Games and Online Harassment Hotline which is celebrating its two-year anniversary providing confidential emotional support to people in the gaming community.
I was fascinated to learn about this text-based service, which connects gamers with trained and experienced staff from Feminist Frequency, a nonprofit dedicated to ending toxicity and abuse in gaming.
Not who you might have imagined, right?
That’s because the hotline was launched after 2019’s “Me Too” movement in the video game industry by advocate and activist Anita Sarkeesian, who found a constructive way to help gamers process complex emotions, offer suggestions for continued support, and give advice on how to handle problematic situations.
Of course if you use the hotline you can remain anonymous. And I like that are no limits to how often a person can text.
One important note: The hotline is only staffed from 3-7PM west coast time.(If you text during other hours, they’ll get back to you as soon as possible.) For this reason, we don’t recommend it for real emergencies or immediate, life-saving support. Instead, please consider the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which handles all kinds of mental health issues, and is staffed 24/7.
But as a resource to turn for advice when game-time banter turns ugly, or as a parent who may not know what to say when you see something your teen is struggling with, I think it’s great having another place to turn free, confidential, trusted advice built entirely for the digital age.
Better mental health, one text at a time.
Top image: Axville on Unsplash
Note that the Games and Online Harassment Hotline is available in the US only at this time between the hours of 3-7 Pacific, or 7-10 Eastern