I recently read a pretty disturbing article from the BBC about video games. But this isn’t the usual heard-it-all-before-video-games-are-evil fodder. No, the subject matter we’re talking about here is different, and it involves a subject we hear about all too much: bullying.
It seems as though nine out of 10 titles released today have an online component. That is, the player can join in against multiple opponents online. Sometimes it’s as a member of a team. Sometimes it’s as a lone wolf. The competition is bound to spark some low-level “trash talk”—I know because I’ve experienced it for myself—but threats of rape and even death? Really? And keep in mind that these threats are coming through a headset in real time, not words being typed on a screen.
The article I read dealt with the male—vs.- female aspect of gaming and how the two sexes interact with each other while competing online. But it went further than that. And that’s where the “trash talk” thing really went into the garbage bin. I can’t repeat the vulgar names used or the graphic threats that were made to the female players, so just take my word for it, it’s bad.
What are the major console developers doing to curtail these ridiculous actions? If a gamer tag (“CB” handle, if you will) insists on making vulgar and/or threatening comments then it should be hasta la vista for them: They should lose their online account. That’s not the case, according to the article. Some of the worst offenders still have active accounts with their respective providers.
Now that I have a daughter of my own, this stuff hits me harder than it ever has before.
Parents, here’s what you can do to maybe avoid this situation.:
1) Check out the Parental Controls on your video gaming console.
2) Keep the gaming activities in a high traffic area, not in your teen’s room.
3) Don’t accept invitations from gamer tags you don’t recognize.
4) If all else fails, simply turn off the Internet connection capability on your gaming console.
That last one will most likely create some static between you and your kid, but it may spare them some seriously turbocharged “trash talk.”