Making Time For Legends

Four years ago, in what became known as Gamergate, anonymous online miscreants harassed women in the video game industry, drawing worldwide outrage well before the #MeToo movement began. Today, 48 percent of gamers are women, and some — like Kim Se-yeon, known as Geguri, the first female gamer in the Overwatch League — make it to the pro level. But trolls pester female gamers with obscene, sexist and misogynistic language, without any consequences. In the world of gaming, there are no rules.

The most troubling aspect of this is that most games are intended for children and young adults. Approximately 64 million children in the United States play video games. We don’t allow our children to watch things on television that contain this kind of language or behavior, and we certainly don’t want them to think that the language and behavior of the trolls is acceptable.

My family moved to the United States two years ago from South Korea. My 3-year-old daughter loves learning English through YouTube videos and by playing puzzle video games. I fear that she’ll be exposed to this toxicity soon, unless we eliminate trolls, put a new ratings system into place and demand better of the video-gaming industry. There are very real dangers to be feared: In June, a 7-year-old girl’s avatar was sexually assaulted in a Roblox game.

The regulations and ratings systems now in place are not doing enough to stop the trolls. If an Elmo character shouts the F-word or kills his teammates in a game, it doesn’t affect the game’s rating, as provided by the industry’s self-regulating organization, the Entertainment Software Rating Board. The E.S.R.B. reviews how violent and sexual game content is, but not how toxic the gamers are becoming in the games. The Federal Trade Commission says on its website that “you may be able to block the player, or notify a game’s publisher or online service.” While I’ve blocked and reported hundreds of trolls to the video game companies, I’ve never heard back.

Even though this problem is widespread and many of the trolls live outside the United States, the F.T.C. and the rating board can take steps to make video game communities less toxic.

First, they need to clearly define what is and is not acceptable in video games and streaming sites. Video games should be rated based on the amount of trolling that happens, and streaming sites should be rated just as video games are. Streaming channels should be dynamically filtered based on the user. Children under a certain age should not be able to see videos that use explicit language or sexual visuals.

Second, the F.T.C. should run extensive tests on video games and streaming sites to understand the toxicity and trolling of gaming communities. To do so, it can work with gamers across the country to collect data, as well as work with game companies and streaming sites.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/12/opinion/video-games-esports-streaming-trolls.html

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