Hate, harassment, and other forms of so-called “toxicity” are colloquially discussed as normalized activities in gaming spaces. However, there are several challenges that have limited researchers’ ability to assess this normalization in terms of the prevalence, nature, and embeddedness of these deviant practices. This work addresses those challenges directly and assesses the rates of dark participation, their mental health impact, player mitigation strategies, and player perceptions around the cultural normalization of these actions within gaming communities. The results provide empirical support for high rates of dark participation in games, a range of mental health consequences to these actions, as well as the endorsement of the culturally justified acceptance of these behaviors within gaming spaces.
Culturally justified hate: Prevalence and mental health impact of dark participation in games