Last night while I was sleeping Sarah was playing World of Warcraft. She found an incredibly rare monster and starting killing it. Another player came and helped. The
monster died and she got a rare mount! That’s a fairly big deal. Then came the insults and rage. The other player had asked her to wait for their friend, but she didn’t see it. Now the guy goes and gets mad and starts insulting her. The rush and excitement of getting something cool and new is replaced by confusion and hurt feelings.
Often on the internet, whether in games or on social media, people are mean. They hide behind nicknames and a perceived anonymity.
People feel safe from repercussion so they unleash all the things that there is no way you could say to someone’s face. It’s terrible. It makes people leave social media, quit games, and in a lot of cases, like #Gamergate, people, mostly women, actually fear for their safety.
I understand the anger that people online induce, I’ve rage quit games and blocked people on Facebook and Twitter. I always thought I was one of the better people online. Until Sarah reminded me I’m not. It took me a little while to understand what she was saying. We play video games together and she hears me complain about other players constantly and it wasn’t until she said “I am that player” that I understood my being angry was translating to her and preventing her from enjoying all aspects of her game.
I felt terrible.
Since then I’ve stopped complaining about what other players are doing, I offer advice in messages and I do my best to encourage the good people in game.
Now I know my example is based on World of Warcraft, but it translates to all aspects of the internet. So when I see something so infuriating I want to rage, I stop and remember that it was posted by a real person with a reason, whether I agree with it or not I do not have a right to attack them. Together we can make the internet a better place. We can report toxic players in games and likewise we can stand up to the bullies online. The more we call people out on their behaviour, ignore their hateful comments and focus on positive interactions the better place the internet will be for everyone.
I want to make the internet a better place for my children who are making their first forays into the greater world wide web and let them explore in a safe and comfortable environment.
So for now do not feed the trolls, spread positivity online and make everyday #unforgettable for you or someone else!