Toxicity And Behavioural Change in Youth Due to Video Games

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Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Video games have been here for a long time and people are slowly understanding the benefits of this wonderful medium of joy. They have been giving potential careers to many gamers by esports competitions for games like League of Legends, Dota II, CS: GO, Valorant and more which provide the platform for many young players to showcase their talent on a global stage.  

However, just like every good thing in the world. Gaming also has an evergreen problem of toxicity in its scheme of things and it continues to be one of the main concerns of online gaming in the world. So what does toxicity mean? 

Here2go, a Reddit user commented on a League of Legends sub-post: “A toxic player is someone who negatively impacts a game in an intentional way. Bashing anyone in-game, leaving when things aren't going your way or intentionally aiding the enemy in any form is toxic.” 

Thus, the toxicity in video games is quite prevalent especially in the online ones where players can connect with other players in the world. However, if we look at some classic single-player video games, you would notice that these concerns aren’t even relevant there. That is why many players love to enjoy video games alone and become introverts in real life. 

Even though there are ample of wholesome moments that happen on the online video games, toxicity always gets the eye of the parents and makes them worried about their children who play in these unsafe environments with a bunch of unknown virtual people. 

Women And Gaming Toxicity

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Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Partiality against women is not at all rare these days and female streamers have not spared as well. Several female professional gamers are making their mark in the gaming industry yet women are stereotyped in the video games. A Female streamer named ‘Nicole Smith’ was harassed by random toxic male gamers on Twitch (Streaming platform) while playing Overwatch. She was assumed to be a ‘bad gamer’ because of her gender and many comments like ‘Go to the kitchen, instead of playing video games!’ were passed to her. This showcases the seriousness of the problem and how it needs immediate attention in the current time. 

This is just one example, many incidents of cyberbullying happen every day on these online video games. Young children are the most vulnerable part of these toxic environments where they are often led to depression and even attempt suicides as a result of it. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Aditya Naidu, Content Manager at Sportskeeda (Leading eSports website) brilliantly explained the situation by exclusively quoting “The pandemic has turned our lives upside down in a way where most of us now look at video games as a medium to ‘connect’ rather than just entertainment. While not all aspects of human nature can be carried forward onto this virtual medium, toxicity isn’t one of them. 

A seemingly harmless ‘mean’ comment for your temporary amusement could be a nightmare for the person on the receiving end. This also goes to show how even the slightest veil of anonymity could bring the worst out in us, especially the young. Keeping in mind the growing popularity of online games, much stricter reforms need to be put in place to combat the situation.” 

While toxicity in competitive matches arises from the very foundation of trash talking among the players. It is a common phenomenon in sports where the players try to provoke the opponents into putting them under the pressure of performing in big stages. Professional players can be banned if they try to do this in the esports leagues, but there is no monitoring of this in online video game matches. 

Why is Toxicity a part of Gaming? 

Toxicity in gaming can be present for multiple reasons. Some of them are stated below: 

  • The team/player not performing up to the expectations:
    This is the most common reason for toxicity in gaming. When a player/team is supposed to meet certain standards while playing in higher leagues, it is always not possible to have a great day in the game. As a result, many gamers rage and talk trash to their team-mates and throw easy games on the international stage. This also causes tilt to many players who don’t have a steady control on their nerves. 

  • Bring in unnecessary arguments/comments on the players:
    Homophobic and racial comments are made several players towards enemy players or their team-mates. These statements hinder the growth of the players and distract them during a match.  

  • Casual ‘fun’ while playing video games:
    Players have always had the instinct to win the matches they play. However, some casual players abuse, taunt other players and justify the actions by giving a simple explanation of video games are supposed to be fun and the remarks shouldn’t be taken as serious. At the end of the day, video games are supposed to be fun and people should be allowed to have a light-hearted conversation with other gamers.                                                                                                                                                                   

Toxicity in Video Games (Examples)

League of Legends 

League of Legends has been one of the best strategy-based video games in the world. It has one of the best esports tournaments throughout the globe and it garners huge viewing audiences every year. However, despite being one of the best games ever made. LoL has been considered to be having one of the most toxic communities in the world. 

Players are given access to the in-game chat option where they can communicate with their team in the absence of the microphone. Therein lies the problem, players abuse this feature to send distasteful messages to the teammates and be toxic. Even though some swear are hidden when typed in the chatbox. It doesn’t stop players from inventing new ways to abuse their teammates if they are having a bad day. 


Image Courtesy: YouTube/ Lix
Image Courtesy: YouTube/ Lix

Fortnite is a famous battle royale video which appeals to younger gamers due to the art style and the aesthetic nature of the game. Toxicity is expressed in a whole new manner in this game.  Emotes were a unique part of this game, where the player could use emotes to showcase various emotions on the battlefield and feel connected to his/her character. However, over the years, some toxic emotes have also made their way into the game. If we take a look at the ‘Take the L’ Emote which showcases the player to dance and showcase celebration after defeating the enemy player. 

Text BoxAfter that, toxic players have taken over the game and they emote after eliminating an enemy just to anger the player. This type of behaviour is considered toxic in the game and players couldn’t care less about it, as it’s just a video game. 

Ways to combat this toxicity

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

So, when we talk about toxicity, video game developers are taking some strict actions to make the toxic environment delightful and fun for the players. Toxicity is a relative term and it changes from person to person. Therefore, taking actions like banning a gamer for swearing seems a bit unrealistic. Here are some steps that could be implemented to curb toxicity in a video game: 

Active Reporting system: 

Reporting systems are incorporated into online video games for a long time. These reporting systems allow gamers to report the player to the developers if they are being toxic in the game. Later, the developers could look into these complaints and come out with a temporary warning leading to a permanent ban on the accused account. 

Muting and ignoring: 

Muting might be the way to go if you have experienced the issue in online video games. Ignoring the chats and focusing on the positives of the match could help in progressing the important ranked matches. However, do remember to report these players as soon as you find them being disrespectful in the game. 

Rijit Banerjee

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