Video game

New Study Highlights Bullying in Video Games Over In-Game Purchases – BNN Breaking

Recent findings from Oslo Metropolitan University researchers Kamilla Knutsen Steinners and Clara Julia Reich have unveiled a troubling trend in the virtual worlds of children’s video games. Their study, drawing attention from global academia and policy makers, delves into how the purchase of in-game items, such as skins, influences social dynamics and bullying among children. Highlighting a crucial gap in the research of digital consumption within a Norwegian context, the study stresses the significant role video games play in children’s lives and the potential negative impact of in-game purchases.

Understanding the Social Impact of In-Game Purchases

Steinners and Reich’s work, featured in a Crossplay newsletter and translated by, sheds light on a pressing issue: children feeling excluded or bullied based on their in-game purchases or the lack thereof. With popular titles like Fortnite and Roblox using in-game currencies such as V-Bucks and Robux, some children are not only pressured into spending real money to fit in but are also sometimes unaware of the real-world financial implications. The study’s emphasis on the need for more research underscores the complexity of children’s social interactions in digital spaces and the influence of digital consumerism.

Regulatory and Parental Oversight

The findings have sparked a conversation around the role of governments and policymakers in regulating the video gaming industry and protecting young consumers. With instances of bullying linked to in-game purchases, there is a growing consensus on the need for stricter consumer protection in digital arenas, paralleling physical ones. This study points to a broader societal issue where digital consumer habits reflect and reinforce real-world social hierarchies and pressures among children. It calls for enhanced consumer education and regulation to safeguard children’s well-being in virtual spaces.

The Call for Action

As the conversation around in-game purchases and their social repercussions gains momentum, the study by Steinners and Reich acts as a catalyst for change, urging not only regulatory action but also increased awareness and involvement from parents and guardians. Monitoring and discussing children’s gaming activities can play a crucial role in mitigating the risks associated with digital consumption and bullying. The study’s revelations about deceptive design strategies employed by game developers further highlight the urgent need for comprehensive consumer protection online.

The implications of Steinners and Reich’s research extend beyond the virtual playgrounds of video games, touching on broader themes of digital literacy, consumer rights, and the social development of children in the digital age. As we navigate this evolving landscape, the study serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility to foster safe and inclusive virtual environments for all children.


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