The gaming community now has a free, dedicated place to get emotional support thanks to the Games and Online Harassment Hotline. The hotline is a text message-based service that allows members of the gaming industry, including professionals, players, and influencers, to reach someone who can help them or provide resources during times of emotional strife. The service is available Monday through Friday from 7 PM EST to 10 PM EST in the United States. Text “SUPPORT” to 23368.
They also have a website, GamesHotline.org, that goes into more detail about the service and its mission. It comes largely as a response to the different scandals in the gaming industry throughout 2019; 100-hour work weeks, sexism, abuse, and severance pay are just a few of the many issues that rocked the industry last year. However, Executive Director Anita Sarkeesian is particularly intent on helping women in the industry who feel isolated and disregarded by sexism while working tirelessly to bring the latest and greatest games to the market. “Anita recognized that sexist harassment and abuse in games was not just the result of a few bad actors, but rather was a systemic issue, one that has to be tackled by initiatives and resources specifically tailored to address the unique dynamics that exist in the games industry,” reads the website’s “About Us” page.
While the hours are short and the reach is limited to the United States for now, getting involved can help expand the hotline to provide more help to more people more often. You can donate and even volunteer to help the hotline stay afloat and grow. The hope is for this to turn into a blossoming, non-profit organization that can be a spearhead for change in the industry by providing people support and resources. Check out their website to learn more, text “SUPPORT” to 23368 to talk to an agent, or look over their “Get Involved” page to… well, get involved.
Brandon is a young writer who loves going deep into games to explore meaning, purpose, and life. He believes that there’s nothing better than getting lost in a world full of characters to love and lessons to learn. He has a special place in his heart for single player games such as Mass Effect and Life Is Strange, but he also blows off some steam playing some of his favorite multiplayer games, like Paladins.