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Dr Benjamin G Sanders PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), SFHEA, MBCS

Research Student

Brief biographical information

benjamin.sanders@plymouth.ac.uk

  

Opportunities and Risks in Online Gaming Environments

Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) have evolved from traditional video games in that they embrace both the technology of the Internet and video games. The massive “exodus” from the physical offline world to online gaming communities brings with it not only a number of unique and exciting opportunities, but also a number of emerging and serious risks. This research set out to examine the unique opportunities and risks to vulnerable individuals, namely, young adults, teenagers and young children; all of whom are considered by many to be priority groups in the protection from harm. The purpose was to examine the reality of vulnerable individuals encountering these opportunities and risks.

This research combined a number of methodologies supported by underpinning qualitative and quantitative theories. Questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and focus groups gathered information from teenagers, adults and children in order to critically examine the unique opportunities and risks encountered in Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.

The findings from these interactions identified specific examples of opportunities and risk posed to vulnerable individuals. The findings demonstrated that there was a need for a support and protection mechanism that promoted the identification and awareness of the potential risk among vulnerable individuals. Emerging from these findings was a set of concepts that provided the evidence base for a Novel Taxonomy of Opportunities and Risks in Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game environments that was designed to assist in the assessment of risk. Validation of the proposed taxonomy was achieved by means of an ethnographic study of (World of Warcraft) online gamers’ behaviour and social interactions through unobtrusive video capture of gaming sessions.

The Novel Taxonomy of Opportunities and Risks provided a basis for the development of a proof-of-concept Decision Support System; the purpose of which was to assist both social work practitioners and individuals to identify and reduce risks. Representatives from both user groups were consulted for evaluation of the acceptability of such an approach. Favourable responses from participants demonstrated acceptability of the aforementioned approach. The evaluation process also demonstrated how the prototype would serve as a useful tool to make individual users aware of potential dangers.

This research presents three novel facets: (1) it advances understanding of the unique opportunities and risks within MMORPG environments; (2) provides a framework for the assessment of risks in MMORPGs through the Novel Taxonomy and (3) demonstrates a novel Decision Support System to assist in the identification and reduction of risk through a proof-of-concept prototype.

Dr Benjamin G Sanders

Director of studies: Dr Paul S Haskell-Dowland
Other supervisors: Dr Maria Papadaki, Prof. Steven M Furnell, Dr Shirley Atkinson

Journal papers

Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games: What’s the Risk?
Sanders B, Dowland PS, Atkinson S, Furnell SM
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, vol. 3, no. 3, ISSN: 1941-8477, 2011
More details | External link available

Heavier, or just colder? A new approach to perception research
Sanders B, Zahra D, Hedge C, Summerscales J
PsyMag, Issue 78, March, pp4-8, 2011
More details | External link available

Online Addiction: A Cultural Comparison of Privacy Risks in Online Gaming Environments
Sanders B, Dowland PS, Atkinson S, Zahra D, Furnell SM, Papadaki M
Journal of Multimedia Processing Technologies, vol. 1, no. 3, September, pp181-193, ISSN: 0976-4127, 2010
More details | External link available

3 Journal papers

Conference papers

Emerging risks in massively multiplayer online role playing games
Sanders B, Atkinson S, Dowland PS, Furnell SM, Papadaki M
EU Kids Online Conference, Friday 23 September, New Academic Building LSE, 2011
More details | External link available

The Positive and Negative Implications of Emerging Mobile Technologies
Bolitho T, Sanders B
Proceedings of the 10th Annual Security Conference, 4th-6th May, Las Vegas, USA, 2011
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Online Addiction: Privacy Risks in Online Gaming Environments
Sanders B, Chen V, Zahra D, Dowland PS, Atkinson S, Papadaki M, Furnell SM
Proceedings of the International Conference on Management of Emergent Digital EcoSystems (MEDES), October 26-29, Bangkok, Thailand, 2010
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Implications and Risks of MMORPG Addiction: Motivations, Emotional Investment, Problematic Usage and Personal Privacy
Sanders B, Dowland PS, Furnell SM
Proceedings of the South African Information Security Multi-Conference (SAISMC 2010), Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 17-18 May, ISBN: 978-1-84102-256-7, pp61-73, 2010
Can be ordered on-line.
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An Assessment of People’s Vulnerabilities in Relation to Personal and Sensitive Data
Sanders B, Dowland PS, Furnell SM
Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Human Aspects of Information Security & Assurance (HAISA 2009), Athens, Greece, ISBN: 978-1-84102-231-4, pp50-60, 2009
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5 Conference papers

Internal publications

Impact of the Consumption of Interpersonal Electronic Content (CIEC) in the Context of Romantic Relationships
Barrington S, Sanders B
Advances in Communications, Computing, Networks and Security Volume 9, ISBN: 978-1-84102-320-5, pp71-80, 2012
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The Positive and Negative Implications of Emerging Mobile Technologies
Bolitho T, Sanders B
Advances in Communications, Computing, Networks and Security Volume 8, ISBN: 978-1-84102-293-2, pp119-126, 2011
Can be ordered on-line.
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Social Engineering: Phishing for a Solution
Odaro U, Sanders B
Advances in Communications, Computing, Networks and Security Volume 8, ISBN: 978-1-84102-293-2, pp88-96, 2011
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An Assessment of People's Vulnerabilities in Relation to Personal and Sensitive Data
Sanders B, Dowland PS
Advances in Communications, Computing, Networks and Security 6, ISBN: 978-1-84102-258-1, pp124-134, 2009
Can be ordered on-line.
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Online Gaming: An Emerging Avenue for Exploitation?
Sanders B, Dowland PS, Furnell SM
Proceedings of the Fifth Collaborative Research Symposium on Security, E-learning, Internet and Networking (SEIN 2009), Darmstadt, Germany, ISBN: 978-1-84102-236-9, pp29-42, 2009
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5 Internal publications

13 publication(s) - all categories.