North American server filtering Among ususers will come across various weirdly titled lobbies. “HornyRPOnly” or “SingleGirl” and even “Hrny Bakugo RP”. There are tons of horny gamers inside these lobbies who are looking for like minded people to be cyber with. As a 27-year-old who wants to play his favorite game with guilt but with no intention of exploring these peculiar places, I chose Eggsalad, a seemingly innocent lobby. And that’s where I met him: a blue astronaut who asked me to be his girlfriend as soon as I chose pink skin.
Gamers or not, most people have heard Among us. The Mafiathe Innersloth style game gained popularity at the start of the pandemic, to the point where its gadgets fill the shelves of every toy store and continue to attract followers of dedicated gamers who use their computers, consoles, and cell phones to make false accusations and call yourself sus .
However, most may not suspect that Among us is now also a conduit for lonely and lonely people and a place where underage gamers discover cybersex. However, it is not the first of its kind.
Cybering has been around in multiplayer games and chat rooms for decades. It has evolved from online messaging platforms like AOL and MSN to virtual reality like SHEEP and Second Life. Whether gender is labeled or simulated, these niches exist in most online communities and especially games.
Instead of sliding beds on MedBay, most sexual roles are played in Among us takes place in the lobby itself. The pre-game chat function is a communication channel; be it a flirtatious foreplay or a detailed and dirty one. With no official goals to keep children at bay, this raises concerns that they could become an arena for underage gamers who experience online seduction and sexual harassment.
I remember my days Hotel Habbomy choice of internet community as preteen. Targeted at young people, this virtual chat has been hosting customizable avatars in a variety of public and private rooms for over 20 years. In previous years, I chose the username Littlexhottie, a title that definitely didn’t describe me at age 11. At that time, you couldn’t open an account unless you were 16 or older. However, I just turned my birth year back a few years and went in right away.
I loaded into chats that suited my interests, such as “Emo Room” or “Anime Clubhouse”. Most of these topics were discussed in the audience. But most often fan-ranting leads to flirting and clear messages.
As a clunky, primitive preteen, I felt completely in love with every user who told me I was cute. I really believed them even though they only had my avatar to base it on. Many of these romantic proclamations would lead to isolation in a private chat room, followed by awkward peer pressure to engage in cybersex.
Whether my participation was due to curiosity or fear of disappointing my online boyfriends, it’s a very uncomfortable memory. I remember nervously looking over my shoulder as I read the news about me being scolded by bluedragon889 on our family computer.
Cases like mine are typical examples of children engaging in sexual exploration, but also highlight the vulnerability and fragility of the safeguards implemented to keep underage gamers safe while playing online. According Observer Research Foundation data, cases of internet pedophilia almost doubled in both reports and anonymous clues since the beginning of the global pandemic.
Mostly Among usThe role-playing lobby, rated X, makes some efforts to restrict anyone entering, though not by age. If the username doesn’t reflect anything related to sex or anime, players are typically kicked out as soon as they are loaded. Meanwhile, trying to join any of the StripBakugo lounges is almost impossible unless you have personally invited them or if the player has a great My Hero Academy wordplay.
Lobbies typically hold a maximum of two to three people, and most often only take place between two people. The topics of conversation and the pace of courtship vary from room to room. Some players are more polite, asking for age or names instead of jumping straight into the chase. However, the most common phrase in chat used as an introduction is “Snapchat?” While some chats will switch to a different platform, most players choose to kick out the remaining members and make the lobby private. However, a few of the lobbies were happy to have me and others staying around.
Most of the users I spoke to listed their age between the ages of 14 and 17. Of all the rooms I tried to get into, only one in 20 said they were over 18 years old.
Younger players generally looked for boyfriends and girlfriends, while older players found they were interested in sexual roles. One player who asked to keep their username anonymous told me that they show up once or twice a week, but mostly for role play purposes. They rarely play the real game Among us.
The main cause for concern about this phenomenon is the target audience. Games with goofy avatar and funny moments are attractive to the mainstream, but especially attractive to kids. Cartoon-style astronauts are the famous mascots of this kid-friendly game. Stuffed animals, toys, clothes, and other goodies can also be found at popular department stores and game stores.
The developer of the game, Innersloth, has a very firm stance on maintaining a game environment that is not only enjoyable for all audiences, but also safe for children’s gamers.
“One of the features we launched early last year was the implementation of Sub Accounts and the associated Quick Chat feature. We partnered with SuperAwesome to create and enforce it, a company that specializes in secure digital engagement services and is used by other games. It has put a lot of work into making sure we are COPPA and GDPR consistent, ”said Innersloth Community Director Victoria Chan.
Thus, Among us implements a system that essentially blocks children in a Child’s Account if they are not of the digital consent age in their country; which COPPA defines as a 13-year-old in the United States. These account users can only play with others who use quick chat, pre-edited phrases that can be used to communicate in-game instead of typing. This makes communication much less personal, but eliminates the possibility of contact with a sexual lobby or inappropriate speech.
Along with the chat function, usernames in this mode can only be selected using a random generator with user-friendly vocabulary. In addition, parents can access and make changes to permissions on accounts after government-approved verification.
“Among us it is also built with security. We have a constantly evolving reporting system and chat / word moderation that tries to eliminate any harmful or offensive language. Players can be reported for inappropriate names / chat and we are actively taking care of whatever people do to bypass the filters, ”said Chan.
However, this leaves responsibility for reporting behavior in the hands of the player himself and is that parents know the specific features of a Child Account to implement such safeguards in the first place. While Chan encourages players to report any behavior that negatively affects the game, players regularly use insults and hate speech in the game, albeit with some spelling or punctuation modifications to bypass censorship. When I contacted Innersloth again to ask for a more direct response to the concerns raised by cyber lobby users in this article, they chose not to respond.
Among us is still popularly watched and played by Gamesight Statistics. The game found ways to make it relevant and attractive to a wide audience. Whether it’s three different maps available or different roles to take, there is always a way to make its content appealing.
Innersloth recently announced that VR Among Us will be released this year 2022 holiday season, allowing players to explore the spaceship from a first-person perspective and remove crew members with their own hands. The games can be added to the wish list on Steam and Meta Quest.
I finally let my blue astronaut suitor with ease; I explained that I was bothered by our age difference and that I could be very ugly under the helmet. He accepted that, and we certainly played a few more games before he finally got to know her onebeautiful purple astronaut in cherry hat who joined our lobby.