VIRTUAL REALITY ETHICS 11
Virtualgames are increasingly becoming the way of life for the young peopleand those who are acquainted with the digital world. That is becausethe virtual world has become very interactive with the advent of thenew technology that has come even to invent ways that voicecommunication is possible. It started with the invention of ordinarywebsites for a large corporation to individualized internet sites.Then Facebook came on board which was more efficient and convenientas a little privacy of interaction was entrenched as a unique elementof the platform. That is where the virtual games began as one couldput his profile picture which could either be real or avatar. Withthe advent of the Facebook platform, the interaction was now easieras one could communicate with anybody across the whole globe and thatis where ethical issues began. Also, the difference between realityand virtual began to be pointed out. When those on the social mediaare met, they are very different from their real appearance. That isbecause what they post on the virtual world is so different from whatthey seem to advocate for in reality. In this paper, the researcherseeks to find out virtual gaming has become an ethical issue whileplaying the game. It shall look at the laws that are broken when thevirtual sexual harassment occurs from those players in the match.
Theproblem to solve in this paper is as posed by the author that femaleplayers in the virtual world are sexually harassed, then the femaleplayers receive emotional damage, but on the other hand people saythis is just a game and one does not need to take it seriously. Issexual harassment in the virtual world undermining the law? It ishowever argued that without gender discrimination in the virtualworld where there are all male players, for some female players thisis very unfair as they feel that they as women are disrespected.
VirtualReality versus Ethics
Professionalin various careers have fallen victims to this issue as they haveoutpoured what their hearts have held for long to the virtual worldwhere they have different names from their real ones and evendifferent photos which are taken to be avatars which are tools forthe game. However, women have been affected more than men in thisgame as they have been adopted to be sexual objects and male playershave wooed women online and sent sexual passes to them which isdisrespectful and sexual harassment. It is unethical to takeadvantage of the virtual environment to insult and behave violentlywhile hurling sexually abusive words to a person since one has causeannoyance in the process of gaming. It would be human to behavecalmly and especially for professionals as the virtual games aresupposed to train one to become resilient and a good problem solver(Consavo, 2012). It is therefore ethical not to exploit theopportunity of the fact that the law cannot catch with you even aftercausing pain and traumatizing injuries to a person. Take the game asa serious interaction and behave like a gentle person.
Harassmentand Undermining the Law in the Virtual World
Sexualharassment in the social media where one is different from the realperson met on a one-on-one basis to have a reasonable talk. Thesexual harassment comes in the form of chats where a male player seesthat an attractive female player only needs to be laid and goes aheadto making advances. The effect to this is that the female player feltdirty and disrespected culminating to being emotionally damaged bythe player. Sexual harassment in the international law is a crime,and it is actionable by operation of the legislation of the land inthe country where the act has occurred.
Thevirtual reality was invented by Jonathan Schenker and Aaron Stantonwho had a passion for the virtual games and thus decided to come upwith their own game which could be a development for the duo whichwas called QuiVr. Schenker asserts that he was alarmed by the factthat female players had been harassed while playing it. Further,Jordan Belamire in his writing describes how the female player wasgroped and chased from the medieval archery game which she wasplaying at the time. The act was committed by a player or user calledBigBro442. QuiVr is a gaming platform which features a mode ofmultiplayer where virtual players from all walks of life and from allover the world regardless of the walks of life to come and interact.All those who interact on the platform are strangers just likeBigBro442 and Belamire (O`Leary, 2012). The horrible experience wastoo real but very upsetting that the game developer moved with speedto fix it with the limited resources he had. Schenker says that theexperience of having the female player harassed was upsetting asvirtual gaming is an experience that is an incredible one. He furtherfeels that the experience should not be lost at the hand of someoneelse and it is inappropriate for that to happen. However, theexperience was ruined for her in a very transportive virtual reality.
Itis said that before the experience by Belamire was disclosed, therewas a feature called personal bubble which was meant to reduce minorevents that could cause annoyance from other players in the game.However, for worse and more horrifying issues like that of Belamire,the personal bubble has intensified to deal with the mattersannoyance. Schenker says that if one has the guts to walk into yourspace, with the setting on the person simply fades away from the gameand his existence becomes no more. According to Fox and Tang (2014),it is not unusual to have the experience like that of Belamire in thevirtual gaming as the masculine nature of males and thus calls theencounter by Belamire as a result of the unfortunate commonplace.They further argue that it is unsurprising the occurrence has takenplace in such an immerse environment with the consideration of whathas happened in the video games for the past few years. Besides, itis a different manifestation of the same behavior whether it wasplacing a hand on a woman`s thigh when they did not want, or beingtoo flirtatious at the workplace, they are all unwanted sexualbehaviors which are perpetrated by the sexist tendencies (Fox andTang, 2014). Sexual harassment is disgusting and cannot be condonedanywhere on the planet no matter how enticing it may seem. Fox in hisargument says that it is a historical tendency in a male dominatedspace that is the heart of the whole event.
Theunderbelly of gaming community came as a debate which addresseditself to the areas of the video game journalism ethics and the rolewomen play in the genre. The final response that was given in thedebate was that women go through a series of sexual harassment intheir bid to make an impact in video gaming which is unacceptable butmuch has to be done in combating the behavior. It was further notedthat 56% of the women who start in the field of technology havemid-career jobs which pay double the rates of men thanks to someinstances of sexism in the workplace. Further, the industry is awarethat gaming for make at the age of eighteen and below which isconsidered to be young teenagers is a thing of the past. There aremore female gamers at 31% which is 17% more than the teenage maleplayers (Henry, 2013), thus making the field a female dominatedfield.
However,the game and the package of harassment have been cited to just beinga game which no one person should take it seriously. But thehollowing experience by Belamire was a big lesson that cannot beoverlooked and just assume that harassment in the game is just partof the match. The game should have a piece of the ethical rule thatguides the players and that any form of annoyance once reported theperpetrator is expelled from the virtual sets. As noted that maturewomen dominate the present world of virtual games at the age ofeighteen and above, while most of the male players are youngteenagers shows that those young men commit most of the incidences ofharassment against the mature women. It is, therefore, ethical thatthe women when maltreated to enquire on the platform from which thegamer is playing so as to identify who the opponent was before takinga legal action. However, sexual harassment in the virtual world isundermining the law in the sense that to reach the opponent `s hardbecause the one affected by the assault could be in the corner of theworld like Fiji while she is playing against an opponent from themiddle east of West Africa. That is what undermines the law becausethe worst the gaming firm can do is just to expunge the account ofthe offender while that hallowing event causes emotional trauma tothe female player and the damage is irreparable.
However,according to Markey C., Markey P. and French (2015), it is a delicateimagination for a person whose action has injured or traumatizedanother person on the virtual platform, and the question of whatwould happen to the victim of the violent action on the virtualenvironment remains unanswered. But the argument raised is whether aperson in the virtual environment feel the pain or is injured and ifit so happens, how is the perpetrator punished? It is concluded thatthis is disadvantageous, but it is outshined by the benefits of thevirtual world. However, the areas of concern that causes harm need tobe addressed as it is the way the law is undermined.
CounterArgument: Gender Discrimination
Womenargue that if there is no gender discrimination and all players aremales, then it is unfair for the female players who feel that theyare being disrespected. The world has taken a swipe for all fields tohave women as they seek to be recognized as of equal capacity to thatof men. However, there are incidences that just send female playersfrom the game or even play the role of avatar where all players seemto be men but in fact they are not. In this section, we shall takethe avatar part in virtual gaming where after close examination, reallovers of virtual games who are female players after being sexuallyharassed just change the account name to look like it is for a maleactor. On finding out that the game goes with a lot of respect evenamidst annoyance while playing with a ‘male` counterpart she feelsthat truly there is much disrespect from men against women (Consavo,2012). That is the source of the feeling when the players are allmen, and there is no gender discrimination women feel disrespected.
However,it is said that one should take the game not as a serious issue sinceit is just a game like any other which attracts love and hate inequal measure. According to O’Leary (2012), gaming is a leisureexercise that is meant to engage the tired mind of a person who hasbeen having a stressful day either at work or at school. Therefore,being an interactive session one should realise that it is a socialplace where two tired minds would love to interact and relax. Heargued that in the process of playing, one may make a mistake and theother retorts with insults, but he says that the insults could bepart of the game and therefore should be appreciated as part of thecompetition but a social, friendly and interactive session. Gamingshould be made interesting and there are those who feel that for itto be so, hurling insults should be part of the play, while otherthink otherwise is the applicable way. But all are part of the gameas advised by O’Leary (2012).
Thedynamics between offline identity and virtual world appearance usedthe attractiveness of avatars to determine the level of help onewould receive while donning a particular level of the attractiveavatar. It was found out that the degree of attractiveness and howstriking the avatar is will determine the amount of help response onewill receive when the avatar carrier requests for a favor to beassisted (Consavo, 2012). It was also found out that women continueto be judged by the looks they have on the virtual environment. Assuch if a female puts a profile picture of another person who isbeautiful and very attractive than she looks and uses that as theavatar, then the help that one would get upon requesting for a favorwould be overwhelming as the sexist driver dominates the brain of amale.
Inthe virtual gaming, it is found out that if a woman dons anattractive avatar, she is more victimized by the violent anddiscriminative female gamers as any little annoyance attracts a goodshare of sexual harassment. Women who don a male avatar are lesslikely to receive the help they would much need in the bid to try andovercome the gender constraint of being discriminated against(O`Leary, 2012). A study was done for a virtual game of Warcraftworld as the platform of the research. Various avatars were chosenwhich comprised a particular degree of attractiveness, and three ofthem were chosen. The avatars consisted of a pair each where the mostattractive couple was a male and a female, and so were thecompositions of the other two avatars (O`Leary, 2012). The degree ofattractiveness for the avatar was to be used so that it could beascertained that the more enticing and good looking a female playeris the higher the magnitude of help she would attract from thesexists.
Thegame began on the virtual platform where the researchersalternatively engaged the same male gamers with inquiries and favorsof different magnitudes. The gamers in the research teams would dondifferent avatars but participating in a game with the same malegamers on the other side as the opponents. And what was to be theagenda of the competition? They posed inquiry questions to thecandidates to see how willing the gamers would be prepared to helpthe other person who is in need of help or assistance. They asked forfavors which ranged from small to the level of enquiring thedirection of the whereabouts of a particular building in the game, tothe big ones of asking the opponent or another player for guidance inthe game where one may be seeking to go to another site. The numberof those in the sample was taken to be 2,300 persons with whom theinquiries were made in the game.
Theresults showed that the female avatars which were more attractivereceived more attention from the opponents and were more helped thanthose with less attractive female avatars. That was when big favorswere required to be provided. However, on the male side, theresponses remained at the same level for the big support requestswhether one chose to don an attractive or the regular avatar. Itshowed that it does not matter how attractive a male avatar onedecided to take. All male avatars received the same level ofattention and response as the looks in men are just but meant to keepa man looking like a human being. However, it was found out that thelooks of women in the real world and the level of attractiveness theypossess will make them receive the help they need depending on thedegree of beauty (Fox and Tang, 2014). That attribute has permeatedthe virtual world. That is made real by the fact that when the womanposes with a less attractive avatar, she is likely to getsignificantly less assistance for the need she presents to the malegamer on the other side. That is to tell that the beauty of a womandetermines the amount of attention she receives in the real world asmuch as it happens in the virtual world.
Thestudy showed that 60% of women operating less attractive avatarsreceived the assistance they needed while the male counterpartsrunning less attractive avatars who received help amounted to 68%.However, when it came to more attractive avatars being in the play,80% of women were assisted as well as the same number of men. Thatshowed that the amount of help a more beautiful woman would beaccorded rose sharply from the less attractive one than that of men.
Inconclusion, the gender discrimination has been immersing in thevirtual world as it is shown in the research above. If a man cameoperating an attractive female avatar, he would receive as muchassistance as the real woman, but in the event, he disclosed that heis a male, one would be less likely to get the support he muchneeded. That shows the level of discrimination as the converse isfaithful to the core. In this regard, if a female operated a maleavatar and then discloses that she is a female gamer the help wouldeither rise sharply or decline thereby attracting harassment in thebid to teach her a lesson for impersonating male. That shows that ifall the players in the game were men, and there was no genderdiscrimination, then it would be unfair for female gamers and it is ashow of disrespect for them. Female players feel that there are twothings in the offing for the virtual gaming and they come in the formof either harassment or too much attention and assistance. In thecase of harassment, they would rather operate the male avatars asthey would be treated with respect in the event annoyance isunavoidable, but for assistance purposes, they would seek attractivefemale avatars to operate in disguise so as to get the attention theywould need, thereby being helped. Those are the constraints femalegamers go through in their bid to fit in the virtual games since thediscrimination is deeply rooted and has permeated the virtual worldfrom the real world and have to be accepted as the way of life. Also,the situation has gone further to be functional in the business world(Miller, Adair et al., 2014). E-commerce, online conferencing, anddigital office assistance, and as such, the avatar the organizationoperates will determine the level of customer relations and responsetherein, and thus the degree of discrimination being demonstrated.
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