Online Gaming Etiquette ~ Toxicity Free!

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With these tips we hope you game on, falcons!

Kavya Kolindala, Staff Writer

Since the rise in the popularity of e-sports, gaming communities have grown to number in millions, ranging from kids to adults in the like. Although this brings a lot of diversity and different skills to the table, it also brings human jealousy and irrational anger. According to www.techtimes.com, over half of online gamers in the USA experience some form of harassment when playing. This can be anything from name calling to others sabotaging the game out of anger; online harassment has a large spectrum to it, and it can vary greatly depending on the game and the player. To get a better view on the effect it has on players, I spoke to gamers in the Green Hope community. 

 

I was curious how often players ran into toxicity when playing – to understand, I asked high school senior Yuna Wood how often she saw toxicity when playing. “For how often, it’s surprisingly common in games when you play solo but whenever I play any game I try to play in a party to avoid the toxicity.” She claims that people are more toxic when she’s playing by herself. People who harass other players tend to pick on those who can’t defend themselves that easily, including solo players who don’t have friends with them to help combat it. 

 

I asked an anonymous sophomore to share their worst experience of toxicity throughout his career, to which he responded. “In a certain game, you can have a little country flag next to your username. I chose South Korea because as a Korean-American, I’m proud of my heritage. This really didn’t pose any issues until in one match, some player decided to repeatedly send anti-Asian racial slurs in the chat. I asked him why he was being so racist, and he replied with one word: COVID. This is ridiculous. Just because my family came from a country that is 900 miles away from the city where the virus started, somehow a bored teenager on his laptop is responsible for a global pandemic. This is the worst experience of toxicity I’ve experienced.” Racism is a large issue across online gaming, and doesn’t have as much recognition with developers and employees of games than it should. Respecting all people, regardless of their skin color, gender, ethnicity, and religion, is important towards creating a healthy and positive community for all. 

 

Everyone can be toxic as well without realizing it. It’s obvious that some may have more experience in a game than others, or hold more power in that virtual reality. I spoke to junior Michael Cox, who shared his story about toxicity on a Minecraft server he used to play on. “I used to mod/play religiously on a relatively successful Minecraft server – it was pretty much an addiction. Though there was no singular instance of toxicity that stands out, the nature of the server made it so you’d be trapped in a never ending loop of small toxic points that build up. Of course relatively big instances of toxicity occurred, but It’s all the little things that get you, the fights, the actions, the insults, etc. and I likely ended up joining in. I’d log off of the server feeling worse off than when I logged on, and my general life was just angrier and more stressful because of it.” Being hurtful or unhelpful to another player doesn’t help anyone, than if one focused their energy on building a friendly, helpful community instead. 


With these experiences in mind, here are a few tips to keep yourself safe from toxicity during online gaming!:

 

  • Mute people when they appear to be toxic. If you find that you cannot reason with them about their behavior, you’re better off muting them before they make you feel any worse. 
  • Appreciate people for trying. No matter how bad an attempt at clutching was, or if the player missed all their shots, a small “good try” and maybe a tip and a compliment could really make your team member feel valued for their efforts (and improve their gameplay as well)!
  • If you find yourself getting worked up, take time to calm down. If you’re getting frustrated because of another player’s performance or your own, you should take a break! Often, pent up anger can lead to toxicity. Try doing something else for a while, or play a low-stakes game mode where you won’t be as pressured to play well. 
  • Party up! Playing with friends who have your back can help combat toxicity in online games, and overall just make your entire experience better! 

We hope that these tips help you in the future, and that your gaming experience improves! Just remember to be friendly, and take breaks when you need them! Game on, Falcons!