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U.N. vows to battle online harassment -- while tarring games

UPDATE A major governmental agency pledges to battle online harassment of women -- while at the same time drawing fire for unfairly criticizing video games.

Christian Nutt, Contributor

October 7, 2015

1 Min Read

The U.N. Broadband Commission's Working Group on Broadband and Gender recently heard testimony on online harassment of women from speakers including (but not limited to) game developer Zoe Quinn and critic Anita Sarkeesian -- and has issued a report entitled "Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls," which seeks to expose more information about the situation and remedy it.

Quinn and Sarkeesian, of course, are notable not just for their work but as targets of online harassment in the video game industry.

In the same report, however, the U.N. cites what the ESA calls "uninformed, misguided and unfortunate" research on video games, characterizing players of games as "killing zombies." The industry lobbying group has posted its own takedown of the report's characterization of video games and their players.

Pixelkin offers a good look at both aspects of the working group's report: both its goals, and the problems with the research on games presented in the document. The latter topic is more deeply discussed at New York magazine's Science of Us blog.

The result? A similar situation to when the American Psychological Association recently released a report on video game violence: a call for a powerful organization to change its tune on video games.

Update: The Broadband Commission retracted its report shortly after this article was published, with a spokesperson apologizing and promising to "get it back up in 100 percent correct state" as soon as possible.

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