ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cyberbullying in Virtual Reality (VR)

Updated on August 19, 2018


As virtual Reality becomes prevalent in the modern world, there is also increasing possibilities of liability issues and legal consequences associated with it. Among these problems are an injury to property and people immersed in the technology. Cyber-bullying, as an example of the injuries to users, is already pervasive in various social media platforms utilizing VR. The dynamics embedded in virtual reality diminish empathy because of their endless appeal to separateness, which is an aspect that encourages violence in the present world such as cyber-bullying.

Gossiping Promotes Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying potency relies on the remoteness of the abuses as well as on the perceived or actual epistemic quality. In a bid to support the preceding assertion, Bertolotti and Lorenzo (292) aver that ‘gossip’ is the trigger of the bullying phenomenon. Their study explains that gossip involves availing data for individuals who should not have the same information (Bertolotti and Lorenzo 292). The result of gossiping, in this case, is that information is likely to end up in the hands of willing troublemakers, thereby, motivating potentially unwanted violence. Upon reaching a critical state, a gossip through VR platforms like Pokémon GO turns into violent punitive behaviors such as bullying and mobbing.

Data Breaches in VR

VR integrated social media sites store users’ data like names, email addresses, web pages previously visited, and IP addresses that pose significant risks to users in case of hacking or breaching. Abusers can use such information as a basis for bullying. Data breaches can take the form of identity theft where a hacker accesses financial accounts (Frank n.p). Hence, this violates the privacy of the owner. Some players in VR abuse the platform by sending death threats through texts. The players, thus, take advantage of the presence VR provides them by intimidating and using disturbing victimizing antics on other players.

Cat-fishing and Cyber-stalking

Pokémon GO is one of the VR sites susceptible to cyber harassment directed towards its users in the form of Cat-fishing and cyber-stalking. Pokémon GO became a target of cyber-attacks shortly after its release. The site also received threats of more devastating hacks in the future. A real case scenario involved the robbing at gunpoint in Missouri of a dozen users lured to a secluded area (Smith 5). The offenders used the Pokémon GO “beacon” feature to facilitate the crime. Cat-fishing involves stealing of a user’s online identity, mainly through photos to recreate social networking profiles (Smith 5). In this regard, the offender ends up using the information to damage the user’s online reputation. Pokémon GO collects location data by making a comprehensive record of their activities and movements (Smith 5). In case cyber bullies gain access to such information, they can quickly identify the present location of a user or predict a future position. Consequently, they can use the information to harm the user through stalking or theft.


The author recognizes the existence of VR platforms vulnerable to cyber-bullying by using Pokémon GO as an example. Further observed by the author is the relevance of enacting game-play mechanics for establishing punitive measures and precautions to curtail potential damaging conducts within VR. Such measures could include systems that save replays of offensive encounters and enhanced report systems. Besides, the manufacture of VR devices is rising, which demonstrates that VR has the potential to become a compelling revenue generator and marketing tool provided the development of business models aims at monetizing a self-contained virtual world. To ensure that the VR-integrated industry attains remarkable success, the incorporation of cogent security standards and adequate protection rights is vital.

Work cited

Bertolotti, Tommaso, and Lorenzo Magnani. "A Philosophical and Evolutionary Approach to Cyber-Bullying: Social Networks and the Disruption of Sub-Moralities." Ethics and Information Technology, vol. 15, no. 4, 2013, pp. 285-299. doi:

Frank, Allegra. “Online harassment in virtual reality is 'way, way, way worse' — but can devs change that?” 2016. Web: Accessed 16 Aug. 2018.

Smith, Reed. "Augmented and Virtual Reality: Emerging Legal Implications of "the Final Platform"." Jd Supra, 2017: 2017-6. Print.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)