One way to render a bully powerless is to take away his or her voice, and that's exactly what the team over at World of Warcraft intends to do with a new feature called the "silence penalty." According to Vocativ, the system punishes players who demonstrate abusive or inappropriate behavior by muting them for 24 hours once a complaint has been lodged, investigated, and deemed actionable. Any subsequent offenses will receive a penalty twice as long as the one before.

In a blog post introducing the new feature, game developer Blizzard said that penalized players will still be allowed to whisper to friends, reply to whispers, participate in party chats, and talk in channels that have a moderator, but features including in-game mail, duel invitations, and other chat formats will not be available.

Video game bullying is a form of cyberbullying. According to DoSomething.org, nearly 43 percent of kids report that they've being bullied online, and 70 percent have witnessed others being bullied. Players will have to wait to see how the WoW silence penalty works in practice, but initiatives like this are a step in the right direction to create a safer, more fun environment for players everywhere.

[h/t Vocativ]

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