What are griefers? Why are they bothering me? Why are they bothering my kids?

If your kids are complaining about griefers, they’re probably annoyed at other players in an online game. If they play Minecraft, World of Warcraft, or any number of games that require some kind of cooperation, they may have encountered griefers.

Griefing is the act of working against other players when the intent is jolly cooperation. Griefers may destroy the creations of other players in the game, or try to get into another player’s account in order to delete their characters or accomplishments. Though griefing almost always involves a virtual world or virtual items, it can still be very upsetting to players who have invested time into their game.

Griefing is a form of cyberbullying, and while it is more playful — some players may even enjoy fighting against griefers as if an impromptu villain has interrupted their gameplay — it can still have serious consequences when griefing is persistent or spills into the real world.

What can I do?

report griefers

If you or your child is dealing with persistent griefing or cyberbullying in a video game, report the offending player to the game company. Many games have an in-game function to do this. Griefers are violating the terms of use by harassing other players, and in some cases can be openly cheating. This will get them banned from the game, meaning they cannot play anymore.

Some gamers take griefer control into their own hands, by running personalized servers for their friends where they control who gets to play and who doesn’t. If you or your child play on such a server, contact the administrator of the server first, instead of going directly to the company.

If you are still being bothered, contact the company responsible for the game directly. If the griefer escalates the harassment to the outside of the game, treat the bullying as you would regular cyberbullying.

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