In my first post on the subject of on-line abuse I talked about the responsibility of educating young people on the internet. For this post I aim to define the major areas where interactions can be deemed as unpleasant.
I have spoken before of my ‘dark passenger’ when it comes to on-line gaming, I’ve been gaming for over 30 years and on-line gaming for over 20 years. Even though normally I work with kids and can deal with all that comes with working with them they do occasionally surprise me. So I have age and experience to deal with my emotions and even I sometimes can’t reign in my anger! If you look at more main stream sports the rivalry is intense emotions run high and occasionally blood is spilt, on and off the field. That is why yellow, sin binning and red cards are issued with immediate punishment and can be longer term removal from the game. With gaming those same emotions can course through you. So it’s no wonder that people ‘mouth off at one another.’ I use people not to hide the fact that it is mainly males that do it but to show women who are gamers can be verbose with their insults as well.
The obvious first type of abuse is on the internal chat in-game. Not all insults thrown over chat are abuse, it can be the ‘art’ of smack talk. Which I am a mere padawan compared to my American brothers, who seem to love the pre-match smack talk no matter what the sport for example Ronda Rousey ‘chats’ pre-match in UFC. My ability to smack talk is more along the lines of heckling the Australians that ‘their all a bunch of criminals’ and the Kiwi’s get ‘your only criminals that can swim!’ I expect to hear that I can ‘Shove that bloody chariot up my arse’ in return. Actually every home county tells us English where to shove that chariot. But it’s all good-natured after the match im happy to mix and socialize and talk rugby no matter what nationality. That is the fun part!
The thing about in-game chat is that depending on the game for example in World of Tanks you can record the game so it can be on record. Most games allow you to block and report people so you can control who messages you or talks to you or even who is likely to show up in your games. Beyond abuse in chat, you can often direct message people in game, or use the systems chat feature like on the Xbox. The abuse sent directly to you is far worse. Because this takes time and thought to actually send especially on Xbox. Typing out a response without a keyboard is a pain. But on the Xbox you can send voice messages which is quick and easy. I’ve had abuse over Xbox live quite a bit. The easiest way is just to ignore it and that’s what I recommend. Normally that is the end of it. A few messages and its over, though it’s never happened to me sometimes it is taken further and you hear of the abuse lasting weeks/months. This is where the recipiant needs to esculate and take the abuse to the correct people. On Xbox it needs to be reported to microsoft if its using there message service for example. Contacting Game companies if its using there in-game services.
Now children will often hide this kind of abuse from their parents, thinking that the parents will just go for the easy option and ban them from using their console or game. This is not the childs fault for thinking this, it’s there best fit for this unknown scenario. Unless the parents are gamers themselves they wont understand the complexicities of this alien gaming enviroment. Gaming is often a very persoanl experience but it dosnt have to be so. I have never finished either GTA Vice City or San Andreas on my own, both games where played with a few of us sat in a room over about a month, drinking, chatting and playing on a console. Parents shouldn’t push the children to their room to play isolated up there. If Parents want to protect and control a more open enviroment and an active engagement in their childs activity is a must. You would kick a ball back and forth, or play catch, this is just continueing that play together attitude. If the parents are open about gaming and show an interest in whats going on the children are going to be more open to approaching their parents with a problem they cant deal with.
Another type of online abuse is the Troll these Trolls come in many different varities and i will be covering them in another article. Trolling is an action carried out to illicit a response from a player. For example in Battlefield 3, people would squat down in front of a sniper so they couldnt take a shot blocking there line of sight. In WoT it can be blocking a shot or nudging a tank so they loose there bonus’s or could be just pushing a small tank into the line of fire. I feel that I use WOT a lot, its not that WoT is a bad game but is probably the only online mainstream game I’m playing at the momment. it could be what one Russian player did to me was fire a shot so he was spotted then retreat behind my unspotted tank so I would get shot at. So in other words a troll is an asshole. They get there enjoyment by destroying other peoples enjoyment. Games companies try and reduce the amoount that trolling can occur, for example the console version of World of Tanks dosnt allow friendly fire, but on the PC friendly fire is there. Also on a map there is a broken bridge on the PC version that you can drive off, on the Xbox version the bridge is intact to stop people just driving off the edge, for giggles. Trolls can go further than jsut using in game mechanics to ruin the game for other players, they can use exploits and/or hacks (hax.) These are direct cheats to alter the game and if the player is caught using them they will get banned. But these trolls can try and get normal players banned for example in GTA V if you play online and someone is cheating and spawning money they can deposit it on you and now you have hacked money and that could lead to your account been banned. Generally these hacks do no long lasting damage and the players are looked down on as script kiddies wether they play console or Arma III or DayZ. They dont have the knoweledge to write the code themselves they are just running someone elses scripts. thats why they have the dergotary term applied to them.
These kiddies can destroy your enjoyment of your game, but the interent is a big place just go and play else where and add these people to your ban list. On the flip side of this you can get banned for no reason yourself, it happens to famous YouTubers as well, at least they have the evidence in a vid. I got banned because I racked up 50 kills without a death when i hooked up with a random person flying in a chopper in BF 3. The admin was on the other team and he kept been blown to bits by missiles/machine gun fire he couldn’t deal with it so myself and the pilot got banned from the server.
Dealing with Trolls : Don’t Feed the Troll
Trolls want you to respond, they want you to send abuse, they might send of your abuse to the game developers saying your abusing them and you get the ban. Best thing to do is ignore them and go play else where.
See you on the other side…