Today on this weeks’s Inspirational Gamer of the Week, I decided to focus my attention on a very important topic that is near and dear to my heart. I recently watched a video from a gamer named Justin LeGrande, or otherwise known as 8-Bit Animal, and his video touched my heart with his message and so I figured that I would share it with my audience.
Cyber-bullying, or Online Discrimination is a huge problem within our online gaming communities. I can personally say that’s why I practically despised the movement to online gameplay when most games started importing multiplayer aspects to their games just so they could say that they were online compatible. I’ve had countless times where I’ve personally felt the sting of online harassment, and it’s one of the few reasons why I refuse to ever wear a headset again. A headset, while it may be useful in some games, is practically a gateway to getting bullied and harassed.
What makes it worse, is that I typically don’t talk back – which only allows me to listen to the slurs of vulgar language, discriminatory conduct, and depravity that are passing through the airwaves during matches. I’ll give you an example:
Recently I was playing the Uncharted 3 Multiplayer on my PS3, and while I didn’t have a mic on, one of my anonymous party members did. Now the voice was obviously that of teenage kid, probably no more than 12 – 13 and so his comments shouldn’t get to me right? He’s just a kid, and I don’t know this person – so why should his words affect me? Well – unfortunately, they can and do for many gamers around the world. I personally have been picked on enough, that I can shove words like ‘retard’, ‘gimp’, etc. in one ear and out the other.
This kid was reaming on me, because I kept trying to save his butt, but in the process kept dying. Now I’m pretty good at the Uncharted Multiplayer. I won’t lie, I’ve got quite a few hours of that game under my belt, but when a teenager calls you all sorts of discriminatory names without knowing who you are at all – it really devalues your gaming experience and makes you not want to play anymore. This is exactly what Justin gets at in his video, and that’s why I love him for it.
How can we allow this to continue?
We have to be able to stand up for gamers, especially gamers who don’t have the courage or the ability to stand up for themselves. I love his advice on trying to make sure that you have a dedicated group of players and friends who know you well enough that discrimination won’t be an issue. I love all of my fellow gamers no matter what race, creed, orientation, etc. I’m a fan for all, but what I’m not a fan of is disrespect and grief for just being a fellow gamer. It’s uncalled for and rude behavior that drives me away from online gameplay constantly.
Now sure, there’s ways to prompt that gamers be banned and accounts pulled – but that’s not what I’m asking for either. All I’m asking for is a sense of understanding, and some maturity on the part of my fellow gamer. We have to start being aware that the millions of players around us on these online servers come from ALL walks of life. They may be homosexual, bi-sexual, black, white, disabled, etc. and guess what?
IT SHOULDN’T MATTER!
It shouldn’t matter if a 19 year old GIRL gamer who’s paralyzed in a wheelchair can headshot you in Halo Reach 3 times before you even change your clip out – but apparently it’s heinous in the eyes of bigot gamers who feel that the anonymity of online gameplay gives them the right to say horribly outlandish things. I find these actions appalling and that’s why I’m so admiring of 8-Bit Animal for his inspiring message.
You are an amazing gamer man, and I appreciate all of the sentiments and ideas that you’ve bestowed upon our gaming community. You have my fellow gamer support and I applaud you for such a stand up message. I hope more and more people begin to think and act like you when it comes to online gameplay, because seriously, the online market needs to change. Discrimination will always be a factor, but hopefully, we can at least get word out enough that we lessen the impact of the words in question and hopefully get fellow gamers thinking about their actions.
To all my fellow gamers,
Please heed this man’s wisdom. Acknowledge that just because a gaming console or PC gives you the anonymity to be an avatar or portray someone else it doesn’t give you free reign to abuse your fellow gamer. Griefing is a form of cyber-bullying and it’s been happening now for far too long. There are far too many children and adults plagued by these anonymous discriminatory actions not to do anything. To joke around in a group of close friends may seem acceptable, but to do so spitefully and rudely on an open forum like a gaming site or server can cause detrimental damage to the receiver. Please think about your actions and, when all is said and done, it’s almost best to say nothing than to say anything at all.
If you’re an advocate in the fight against cyber-bullying, if you feel like all gamers should have a peaceful environment to play within, then I urge you to check out more information on cyber-bullying here:
The more we get acquainted with the actions that we take that are abusive, the quicker we can become aware of the steps needed to stop these interactions. I pray for a day when cyber-bullying isn’t an issue, but until that day, the best step is to be made aware that it is one. On the site there’s also a game available to play too called Alex WonderKid Cyber Detective.
I haven’t downloaded it yet [ and I assume it’s PC only ] but it’s supposed to help students learn about the dangers and issues involved with cyber-bullying and discrimination.
Thank you Justin and I hope that your message helps touch countless other gamers!