It must have something to do with peoples emotional reactions making them loose perspective or something. Gamers take it all very seriously and seem to take it personally when they loose. I know banter is part of the whole thing but it often goes way too far.
In general...When it all goes to far... Lashing out in any form- online, on the phone, in person... is tied to anger. Humans 'stuff' anger and carry it around with them for years. Sometimes with out even knowing what they are mad about. Growing up in an unstable home with out support and direction from kind parents is one of the causes. All of the bad memories sits inside a person and throws their emotional balance off. They react to things as if it were the worst thing in the world. They are reacting to whats going on inside them- not to what is taking place in the game they were playing. For instance, a school ground bully is sometimes the victim of bullying at home. They are angry and hurt, so they take it out on others. The bullying at home makes them feel small, so they in turn bully others to feel big. These reactions are choices... not everyone who is bullied at home becomes a bully. The most important thing to remember is that all of these possible reasons for the behaviour, are only reasons. This does not mean they are not responsible for what they do... we all are. The best thing to do with that kind of player is avoid them. You can not help them, I can not help them, they have to want help and seek it on their own, or it does them no good at all. You do not have to lie to them about why you do not want to play, its up to you, But I quietly tell people what I really think, in a nice way. Like this maybe- "I'm sorry but you get really into this game and I don't. Its made you a bad loser. I just want to have fun." If they try to apologize, I accept gracefully, but tell them I am still going to find someone else to play with. When they get verbally abusive after that I block them. Their anger, and ugly words are theirs, not mine, or yours. One last thing... I know people who became Gamers to hide from the emotional issues in their lives. They were apt to go off the deep end when they lost, and take any criticism as an attack on them personally. One friend would get mad about what was going on in her game and take it out on me and other friends of hers. As time went on all of her friends but me stopped talking to her. I took it the longest because I understood what was happening, and was able to not let it bother me. I was able to do this because I have a lot of experience with overcoming the emotional issues I developed from living in an abusive home. I do not recommend this to any one. I finally did have to cut ties with her, because her anger became excessive. A Gamer being serious about gaming is one thing, being verbally abusive to others is another. A trrue Gamer knows when they lose a game it means they need to improve their skills, not because the other player is a long string of ugly words. And anger only interferes with a Gamers skills- not enhance them.
I agree with Kathrin. Anger in games is just anger they've not got control of. I guess in some cases you could say they rather blame other people for a loss (of a game) than blame them-self and their skills. Also some people can't accept that others aren't always as good as they are in a particular game and seem to think that raging is gonna change that (somehow in a twisted dimension!).
Surely though, there should be more done to deter people from doing this on gaming platforms. Your right Katherine, it is down to personal choice, no matter the reason and if gaming platforms made a point of standing up to people who make this choice by banning them maybe it would make them realise they are making the wrong choice.
Thats a good point Marti. Gaming sites can't just shrug their shoulders and say they are powerless to do anything. Talking about choice and responsibility, you could say it is the gaming industries choice to accept this type of behaviour on their platforms so it is their responsibility to look after their customers who are affected by it.
Depending on the age group, I believe some younger gamers are just parroting what they hear from their parents or in their environment.
A few months ago, my child came racing into my bedroom and threw himself face down on my bed, crying loudly, out of the blue. When I finally calmed him down, he turned to me and said, "What's a (n-word)?" I said, "Where did you hear that?" He said, "They keep calling me that in Minecraft."
The interesting thing was that my kid didn't really know what it meant. But he knew by the gamer's screaming it that it was "something bad." It scared him enough to come racing into my room in tears.
Ironically, the gamer in question wasn't any older than my child, maybe around age 10 or 11.
My child and I had a long conversation about the word and how and why people use it and why he should never say it to anyone.
Obviously in this case, it wasn't being used as a racial slur -- my kid is blond and blue eyed. But the full implication and meaning behind the word was hitting my kid like a punch in the gut. He knew that the word was bad, and he knew that it was being used against him for a bad reason. He just didn't have the full knowledge or understanding. I also had to wonder if the kid who was using the word had any idea what he was really saying.
I try to shield my kid from games where he'd hear this type of thing -- for example, no games about war or violence. There are certain games that will never see the light of day under my roof.
But in this situation, my kid was playing MINECRAFT. That seems to be a pretty innocuous thing, doesn't it? Point being that if your kid is online, your kid will be dealing with other kids or even adults that bring this type of poison into your home. My approach is to hit each situation head on, have a frank discussion about it and encourage my kid to never engage in that type of behavior. We can't always control other people or other people's kids, but we can still teach our own kids what is acceptable and what is kind.
As a gamer myself, I never get angry whenever I lose. I have been called ugly on a MMO game, but I ignored that girl, because in that game everyone can look unique.
I think it's not okay to take games very serious. They are just for fun.
Us gamers are very passionate about winning there is no doubt about that, buuuuut......personally I don't ever verbally abuse other players or threaten them in any way. In fact I can't even imagine threatening anyone anywhere but that's another story! I mean I understand when somebody is in the thick of the action with their tongue out the side of their mouth and so on, they might be screaming "take that you %#*^!" But for me that is where it ends, I can't see the point in ridiculing players for being girls or saying things about their families. It would be nice to just play and not worry about the abuse for a while. Some gamers are worried about competitiveness being dampened by highlighting abuse n gaming but that is just short sighted, they will have a much better gaming experience without all that abuse being hurled at them....and maybe even an experience that they can enjoy with their children as they get older too!
Thank you Heidi, you have made a good point about Minecraft. Not that it is a hotbed of abuse but that it is not a particularly competitive/adult/violent game and yet still you can be abused. My boy has had some nasty experiences on Minecraft but has learned that it is their problem and not his. He either turns off the chat or moves to another server that is better run and has nicer players. He knows there are idiots out there who have no control over their emotions or are just plain nasty, so he has learned to manage his exposure to them.
Hello peoples. I see you have had a HUGE debate about this topic but it needs to be said that there is a science behind it, there is a part of your brain that hasn't changed much since the times when we were being chased by man eating dinosaurs and its commonly referred to as the fight or flight reflex when in action and makes you stressed and feel threatened, usually this isn't common outside of the ol' interweb but because the internet is a lot newer to society in comparison to some other things your brain hasn't adjusted to what's a threat and what isn't. If you die in a game or you do something wrong in it or anything that could upset you in the slightest that part of your brain activates and it makes you make irrational decisions and makes you stressed, but because your brain hasn't adapted instead of thinking'man its a real pain in the butt someone destroyed my house in minecraft, welp time to move on!' you think: 'oh god my house is gone i'm going to die I need to hunt this person down because they are a threat to me' but because you can't do anything to them physically you start trying to attack them the only way you can being getting angry at them and calling them names so essentially a ancient part of your brain Hijacks you and its not your personal decision to get angry at someone. Usually when you think of someone who is a flamer online you think of some abused child who has a disturbed brain or is upset or maybe even someone who had a really bad day. But it can happen to anyone. That piece of your brain is still going to be there no matter how nice you are so the next time you get angry at someone or someone gets angry at you just remember that half an hour after you relax and stop talking to each-other you probably would of forgotten about everything and its just a short period of anger. don't hold it against anyone; Though you need to remember that this doesn't 100% take away their choice it is just an extremely heavy influence and you still have control over the situation, it just takes a lot of self control to make the rational decision in those situations. Anyway this is pretty much all I got to say, stay safe gamers ^_^
I think Heidi makes a good point about kids "parroting" the behaviour around them. If they are spending a lot of time online in games then this becomes part of their everyday environment and so they see this type of behaviour as a right of passage to fitting in.
Great thread guys! Very informative posts from everybody on this important subject. Maybe a special mention is in order for our younger contributors Sheepsie and Wanesite. It is good to have young gamers on board, nice one!
I'd like to echo what Mac said -- it's great that Sheepsies and Wanesite comment frequently on this site. You both are great kids, and your insight is very valuable to parents. Stay strong as you get older, because we need people with good heads on their shoulders in the next generation! Proud of you guys!
Because some people have behavioural disorders and the only way they know to express themselves when they can't get their own way or things don't go as they want is through anger. I find usually its down to growing up in that kind of enviroment with Toxic parents. This is the Nurture vs Nature argument which pops up all the time in such discussions. Are people born that way or is it the parenting? 9 times out of 10 I would say its parenting. The whole stereotype of the obese depressed angry spoilt obnoxious troll in mom's basement in some cases is right on the button.
This matter of games and their influence on thinking and emotions is now a matter of formal study. The papers are probably over my head to be honest and I don't like to encourage people to read and believe journalism about the studies but they do exist. Of the factors I can remember time was important. The more you want to influence events by comment, the more you will want to be fast (in those situations the fastest typist or otherwise the quickest person controls the exchange, also the 'window of opportunity' may be small due to the mechanics of the situation). The more fast you go the more your choices are a matter of emotions. Thoughts are too slow to decide things. It is much more easy to empathise or sympathise with physical rather than subjective hurts, and the people involved in the tussle may not be 'close' in any other sense ie they may lack empathy.
So moving fast to 'win' the exchange, on that basis adrenaline is pumping, emotions being used more than reason, empathy being absent or slow (too slow to be involved in decision making) those are some reasons why 'flame wars' and drama breakout in games. Once an outbreak has happened they probably continue because to admit fault is seen as 'backing down' quitting.
That's my best guess based on experience and reading (Antonio D'Amasio especially)
I think some people are just to competitive in a negative way that makes them sore losers. And when they loose they rather blame it one everything and everyone else than themselves. It happens in school, it happens in anything competitive and even noncompetitive (like comparing the grades on a test and getting annoyed because someone got a higher score) really. Either you learn to control it or you dont. I think some kind of competitiveness is a good thing for some, like a drive, look at athletes for instance, they are driven by an almost manic competitiveness. Yet I dont remember ever seeing a 400m runner loose it on the track because someone else won! People need to learn to take a step back and think without letting a momentary impulse drive them when they loose at a game or dont achieve as well as they expected.
Okay so good behavior can be learnt at home but just because you come from a good home with caring parents dosent exclude you from being, well, a jerk! Yes, good parenting can help but it is not necessarily a parents fault if someone is rude, a bad loser, a bully, harasser, you name it. A good parent is all well and surely it helps, but not key to make you into a decent person.