Those who don’t play many video games probably picture the community as fun, supportive, and with just a splash of friendly competition. To tell you the truth, you do encounter those situations. However, the standard has quickly become one that no mother would want their child to be a part of.
Before we start, it’s important to know that I am an avid gamer and am in full support of gaming. But what I do not support is unhealthy addictions or bullying. It is becoming more and more acceptable to cyber-bully in video games and frankly, it’s ruining the experience for everyone.
Failure is Not an Option
The phrase mentioned above is associated with the Apollo 13 moon-landing. It is meant to be used in life-threatening, world-changing situations. It can be a great way to push yourself, but not to hate yourself. It is not a phrase to be used when your teammate isn’t “gittin’ gud” enough for you.
There isn’t a gamer out there who hasn’t been called trash or something worse. But why? It has been proven that those who are subjected to the stress of belittlement perform worse. This tactic is used against opponents to tilt them into doing bad. Not very honorable, but selfishly understandable. But these days, gamers use the tactic against their teammates too. Which doesn’t make sense now does it? It raises your chances of losing when you put your teammate down or tell them to play better.
But how hard is it to remember that there is a living, breathing, possibly depressed human on the other side of that comment? It doesn’t matter if you want to affect others or not, your actions matter. If you enjoy destroying lives…then carry on. But chances are, you aren’t connecting your actions with consequences.
Although anonymity may keep us safe from stalkers, hackers, and those will ill-intent, it is also now being used to hide from the victims of our malicious words. With anonymity, we live without consequences. We can say awful things to one another without ever having to face one another. The internet isn’t meant to be used to test out different alignments. Over 90% of people are almost completely different people online than they are in real life. Perhaps you never aim to make friends, but performing all the time must get tiring. Pick which one is the real you and see the difference it makes on your quality of life.
A Real Grill?
We all know about this one, and I’ve even written an entire article about it, you can read my Female Gamer article here. However, I do have to say that this one may be getting better because boys have become immune to meeting females online. This is really refreshing. I agree that females should be treated with respect, but I also think fellow males should be treated with respect too. In short: treat people with respect.
Not Like Me
For some reason, it’s become the “greatest thing” to make fun of or trash talk anyone who is different than you are. Indian descent? Google the best derogatory terms you can find in order to make them feel as bad as possible. Find someone who is a different religion than you? Make sure you attack their beliefs in order to validate yours. Does this new guy intimidate you? Use harsh words to insult his manhood.
The truth about this is that the only people who belittle others feel so small themselves that they have to do so much to make the other person smaller than they themselves feel. If someone makes fun of you, the truth is they feel inadequate about the exact thing they are making fun of you for. When you think of it like that, it makes it easier on both parties.
Losing sucks, we all know it. But it really isn’t everything. Unless you are actually a pro-gamer whose family’s livelihood depends on whether you win or not, the game…means…nothing. It’s fun, it’s a nice challenge, but in the end, it’s nothing. It doesn’t matter if you spend 100 hours a week playing, it’s just a game. The people you are playing with matter…but that’s where it ends.
I like gaming just as much as the next person, and I also get caught up in the competition at times, always trying to better myself. I’d be ticked off if my account got deleted in my favorite games. However, video games are not important. It’s hard to hear and probably triggers you pretty bad. But if you think video games should be number one priority (without thinking about memeing it) then your life must really suck. I truly apologize and wish I could help you out there.
This is one of the main reasons people act out online. They want attention. They either don’t get enough at home or they are extreme attention seekers who are psychologically disturbed due to trauma in the past. These are the only two options. So, they seek out unhealthy attention much like a two-year-old who wants his mommy to hold him flushes the car keys down the toilet.
Whether you are the two-year-old or you are the mother, being aware of the reasoning behind the action can do wonders for you.
Follow the Crowd
When asked, most toxic people will blame someone else for their toxicity. They have to trash talk or else they’ll be left in the dust. They are only responding, not instigating. Well, the harsh truth is…it doesn’t matter. You either follow the crowd or you choose your own path and become the leader. That’s the difference in an adolescent and an adult. You can learn from others no matter how mature you are, but you pick and choose what you apply to your own life.
When you think about it, the gaming community is puberty incarnate. Every toxic thing connected to the community is an early sign of puberty. Why do you think calling someone twelve is the natural response to anything you don’t like? Insecurity, obsession with the opposite gender, attention seeking, unstable emotions, it’s all there! If you are going through puberty, this may seem like a good outlet, but hopefully you find yourself soon. If you aren’t, then maybe you got stuck there. Don’t be afraid to seek out help. Or…grow up if you can. You’re only making yourself even more unhappy.
While the ultimate challenge is to refrain from being toxic and instead encourage a healthy environment, I have another challenge for you. Try going a day or a week without gaming. Whatever the longest you’ve gone in the last year is…double it. Just try it. If you’re afraid to, then you may have a problem. But we’re not here to talk about addictions, we’re here to bring awareness to the toxicity and how it’s ruining the game for everyone else. Addictions aside, you probably feel a littler lighter and less stressed. This doesn’t mean that you should quit gaming but be aware of the source of the stress and how you can not let it affect you. Aside from that…game on! Video games were created for our pleasure! So let’s “make them great again!”
Now, like I usually say, I just brushed the surface here. So, let me know in the comments anything you’d like to add! I’d love to hear it!