Esports’ popularity forces video game rethink by schools and parents

The explosion in popularity of esports is forcing parents and teachers to rethink their resistance to video games and welcome them into the classroom.

For decades gaming was a source of frustration for parents, viewed as an unwelcome distraction for teenagers who spend too much time glued to a screen.

The esports juggernaut has burst into popular culture and gained mainstream acceptance.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts esports’ viewership will overtake the NFL and analysis from Deloitte found “fabled riches” await investors and advertisers that tap into its young, affluent audience.

Online gaming is so ubiquitous that teachers have given up trying to fight it and are now actively encouraging esports through school-based competition.

Lucas Malissa plans to turn pro and move to Europe to compete full-time.(Twitter: Olympics)

Many Australian schools include esports as a co-curricular activity where students practice, tryout for the team and travel to live, in-person competitions.

About 50,000 students from more than 300 schools took part in the Fuse Cup, an international esports competition for children.

The country’s top 60 players representing 25 schools from five different states recently competed in the national finals on the Gold Coast.

The competition’s founder Dan Martinez said it was a great way for like-minded young people to make friends and an opportunity to educate them on healthy gaming habits.

“Esports is embedded in schools across Australia just like any other traditional sport like cricket or netball or basketball”

Mr Martinez said.

Gianni Infantino has attended the Formula One Qatar Grand Prix where he held talks with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) President Mohammed Ben Sulayem about the fight against online abuse. The two presidents previously met at the Monaco Grand Prix in May, where they also discussed the issue.

“It was great to be back in Qatar for the Formula One Grand Prix. This beautiful country brings back wonderful memories from the FIFA World Cup in 2022 which brought the world together in celebration,” the FIFA President said. “I also met with FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and continued our conversation about how we can work together to combat online abuse in sport.”

    “I also met with FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and continued our conversation about how we can work together to combat online abuse in sport.”

    Last year, FIFA and FIFPRO — the worldwide organisation representing players – jointly established the Social Media Protection Service (SMPS) to defend teams and players from online abuse at FIFA tournaments. The service was implemented at both the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ as well as the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2022™ and the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023™.

    FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem meets FIFA President Gianni Infantino to discuss United Against Online Abuse
    BEN SULAYEM Mohammed (uae), President of the FIA, DOMENICALI Stefano (ita), Chairman and CEO Formula One Group FOG, portrait on the grid during the 2023 Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix, 17th round of the 2023 Formula One World Championship from October 6 to 8, 2023 on the Lusail International Circuit, in Doha, Qatar – Photo Xavi Bonilla / DPPI

    The SMPS proactively monitors the social media accounts of every participating team and player, as well as several coaches and officials, looking for abusive, discriminatory and threatening language. In addition, every participant is offered access to a moderation tool which instantly and automatically hides abusive and offensive comments from their profiles, so that the comments are never seen by the player or team they were aimed at, nor the many millions of social media users who follow them.

    Meanwhile, FIA has launched the United Against Online Abuse campaign – a collaborative mission between national governments, regulatory institutions and fellow sporting bodies – with the objective of building a global coalition within the sport ecosystem.

    The race took place at the Lusail International Circuit, a few kilometres from the Lusail Stadium which hosted matches at last year’s FIFA World Cup including the Final between Argentina and France.


    The FIA, in partnership with fellow sporting bodies, makes history with the first of its kind survey dedicated to studying online abuse in sport.

    Survey findings will support the UAOA campaign by providing an evidential base to lobby key stakeholders for action, advocacy, and investment.

    The FIA today launches the inaugural barometer under the auspices of the United Against Online Abuse campaign – a strategic initiative designed to address the impact of online abuse against athletes, officials, volunteers, and others involved in the sport. 

    The first edition survey, presented as a barometer, is designed to provide an assessment of the extent of online abuse against athletes, competitors, officials and participants aligned to over 70 international sporting bodies. The project team will be headed by Professor David Hassan, a leading researcher in sports management and policy, for over two decades.

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    Both parties discussed the importance of confronting the issue of online abuse and the need for action to increase prevention from cyber-harassment in sport.

    During the meeting, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra gave her support to the FIA’s “United Against Online Abuse” charter. She added that the FIA’s initiative is compatible with the actions of the French government to fight against the online harassment of athletes and officials.

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    The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) today announces the signing of a Charter for collaboration with the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) as part of the global coalition to counter online abuse in sport.

    The signing between FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and his counterpart at FIM, Jorge Viegas, took place at the Francorchamps circuit ahead of the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix.

    Under this pledge, the FIA and FIM will contribute to the fight against online hate speech in sport which is a pressing challenge for society by adopting several targets.

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    FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem announces the launch of six fully-funded scholarships as the United Against Online Abuse campaign continues to gather momentum.

    The scholarships will invite researchers worldwide to collaborate remotely against the global scourge of online hate speech in sport whilst earning a Master’s by Research degree title. The programs fall under the auspices of the FIA University and are backed by the FIA Foundation.

    The announcement comes on the United Nations Day for Countering Hate speech and has been formally presented to delegates at the FIA Conference in Cordoba June 2023.

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    A significant milestone in the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile’s mission to drive out online abuse was reached today with the launch of a White Paper on the issue that has become a blight on global sport.

    The document, entitled, “A Strategic Response To Online Hate Speech In Sport” has been informed by industry experts, government institutions and the FIA’s academic partners; with the mission of outlining the sustained and collaborative approach the FIA will adopt in confronting online toxicity.

    The White Paper has been presented to the FIA’s 243 Member Clubs and shared at the World Motor Sport Council Strategy Meeting in Bahrain.

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    As part of a concerted effort to address the issue of online abuse throughout the motor sport community, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is partnering with Artificial Intelligence experts

    Through the collaboration, is implementing its AI-enabled content moderation platform to help the FIA detect and reduce growing levels of online hate speech on its social channels. A successful trial has already been completed.

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    Online abuse has become a blight on our sport. The level of sustained toxicity has reached crisis point. It is time for all of us to unite – and to act.

    Recently one of the FIA female stewards, Silvia Bellot, was the subject of death threats. It is utterly deplorable that a volunteer such as Silvia or any of our marshals and officials, who volunteer their time to allow us to go racing, is the subject of such hatred.

    Indeed a number of FIA staff have also been targeted with harassment and hate posts over the past few years.

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