Online Harassment book cover

The cover of the new book, "Online Harassment," published by Springer. 

September 17, 2018

An examination of the massive social media fight over sexism and diversity in video games by an interdisciplinary team of students, including four from the Department of Health Services Administration, has been published as two chapters in a new book. 

The controversy, dubbed GamerGate, began in 2014 as a call by some social media users to bring more diversity into video games, but it devolved into trolling and harassment of women in the industry. Four HLSA students, Jun Chu, Taylor Rogers, Grace Mishkin and Aitalohi Amaize, examined GamerGate and how the women were targeted as a final project for the course, Social Media Analysis taught by Professor, College of Information Studies Jen Golbeck.

Their analyses for the class were added as two chapters in a larger book Dr. Golbeck edited titled Online Harassment which was released in August 2018.

It tackles the problem of harassment by explaining to readers what it looks like, how we can improve our understanding of it as a culture and how we can address it. The researchers look at the different types of harassment and how gender differences affect misogynistic harassment. Several chapters take special care to examine how it happened in the GamerGate incident.

There is also attention paid to the results of harassment, and how it destroys lives and drives people offline, which is important for those who study public health said Amaize, a third-year PhD student and graduate teaching assistant in Health Services Administration.  

“Given the ubiquity of the Internet and social media, online harassment and its effects on mental health — particularly in youth —  are increasingly important issues for public health to tackle,” she said.

Having the work she and her classmates carried out was meaningful, because many times the hard work students put in end with the class, Amaize said. She looks forward to seeing the impact of this project on her future work, as she continues studying health disparities, communications and how people receive and interface with health care workers.

“I learned a lot about network principles through the course, and many of these principles, such as tie strength, trust, and network propagation relate broadly health care access at the patient  and consumer level,” she said. “I am looking forward to applying these principles to my dissertation, where I hope to study care coordination in the health care safety net, where patients face many barriers to quality care.”

Related Links

Online Harassment

Related People
Jun Chu, Taylor Rogers, Grace Mishkin, Aitalohi Amaize
Related Degree: 
PhD, Health Services Research