The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called on the ESRB to include new metrics on toxicity and “extremism” in online games. The organization thinks that it will help players and parents make informed decisions about titles with potentially harmful content.
The ADL proposed this recommendation in its latest report on harassment in online games. According to the organization, the current rating system lacks information about toxic behavior and harassment in multiplayer games. And that’s why the ESRB should audit titles for such content.
“Such audits would allow companies to include information and metrics about toxicity and extremism in their ratings, to allow players or parents of players to make informed decisions about potential exposure to harmful content or harassment,” the ADL said.
It is still unclear how the ESRB would conduct these audits. As journalist Stephen Totilo commented, “hard to see how this would be done, but the results would be fascinating.”
A recent report on toxicity in games by the Anti-Defamation League calls on the ESRB, which rates games, to rate the toxicity of an online game’s community through an audit
Hard to see how this would be done, but the results would be fascinating.
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) September 23, 2021
However, Daniel Kelley, Director of Strategy and Operations, Center for Technology and Society at the ADL, shared his thoughts on the matter.
He offered three ways the ESRB could rate toxicity in online games. First, titles should have policies around hate and harassment. Second, the ESRB could use “secret shoppers” to report how different games address and record these problems. And finally, game companies could share data with the ESRB to “evaluate the prevalence of hate in a game.”