Video games are a source of fun and enjoyment for tons of people all over the world, with gaming being one of the most popular forms of entertainment today.
However, there is also an element to video games that is a little less positive.
We are going to be talking specifically about the nature of “toxicity” in gaming, including what exactly it means and how it can affect you as a gamer.
What Exactly Does Toxic Mean In Terms of Gaming?
Toxic behavior within the gaming community has been around since video games were first released.
The term relates to any kind of negative or abusive behavior that takes place online, whether it’s between players or even towards other members of the development team.
This includes things like bullying, harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.
The term toxic comes from the fact that these behaviors have a widespread, poisonous effect on others, and they can lead to some pretty serious issues if not dealt with properly.
The Different Forms Of Toxic Gaming Behavior
There are many different types of toxicity within the gaming community, but we’ll focus on three of them here: cyberbullying, griefing, and trolling.
Cyberbullying is when someone uses technology to bully another person.
This could include anything from sending nasty messages through text messaging, social media, or email, to posting mean comments on forums or websites.
With the rise of online gaming, this type of abuse has become more common than ever before.
Cyberbullying in video games can range from something as simple as name-calling to much worse, such as threatening to harm the victim physically or emotionally.
Cyberbullying in gaming can often result in a lot of stress for victims, as well as making them feel isolated and alone.
Griefing is when someone intentionally causes damage to a game or its environment.
They might do this by hacking into the game’s servers, deleting files, or even creating new ones.
This can make the game unusable for other players. Griefers may also use cheats to get ahead in certain games and torment other players.
Trolling is when someone posts deliberately misleading information, usually with malicious intent.
For example, trolls may post false rumors about upcoming releases or events, or they may try to trick users into thinking their account was hacked or compromised.
Trolls may also create fake accounts, or impersonate real gamers, in order to spread lies or misinformation.
Some trolls may even go as far as to threaten or harass other players, or even target developers.
How Can You Tell If Someone Is Being Toxic?
It’s hard to tell if someone is being toxic without actually talking to them, but there are some signs you can look out for. Here are some examples of what you should be looking for:
One of the most obvious forms of toxicity is name-calling. Whether it’s using racial slurs, homophobic insults, or sexist terms, name-calling is always inappropriate.
Another form of toxicity is threats. While it’s perfectly fine to joke around with your friends, threatening someone is never okay.
Whether it’s saying that you’ll hurt someone or telling them that they have no right to play a particular game, threatening behavior is never appropriate.
In-game harassment ranges from annoying chat spamming to outright bullying.
It’s not just limited to verbal attacks either; it can also involve things like threats of physical violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
Any kind of harassment is unacceptable, and it’s important to report any incidents.
Another way to identify toxicity in the gaming community is gaming sabotage.
When someone sabotages a game, they purposely mess up gameplay in ways that prevent others from enjoying the experience.
Examples of this include creating glitches in a game, or changing settings so that the game becomes unplayable.
Spamming is when someone repeatedly sends messages to multiple people at once.
The problem with spamming is that it takes up valuable bandwidth on a server, and it can slow down the connection for everyone else trying to connect.
Spammers often send these messages from different IP addresses, making it difficult to block them completely.
Hackers are people who find security flaws in computer systems.
They then exploit these flaws to gain access to private data, steal money, or destroy computers.
While hacking doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is being toxic, hackers sometimes use their skills to cause problems within games.
Cheaters are people who intentionally break rules in online multiplayer games.
This includes everything from cheating during matches to exploiting bugs and glitches to gain an unfair advantage over other players.
What Are The Effects Of Toxic Gaming?
If you spend enough time playing video games, you will inevitably encounter toxic players.
However, it’s important to remember that toxicity has many negative effects on both the player and the community.
Toxicity can affect your health by causing stress, anxiety, depression, and even PTSD.
Studies show that gamers who regularly deal with toxic players are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses than those who don’t.
Toxic players can also damage the growth of communities by discouraging new members from joining.
Toxicity makes newcomers feel unwelcome, which causes them to leave before they become part of the community.
If a community loses too many members, it may be forced to close down entirely.
Lack Of Fun
It’s impossible to enjoy yourself if you’re constantly surrounded by toxic players.
As such, toxic players can actually lower the overall quality and the fun factor of games.
The gaming community is full of amazing people who want to share their love of video games with their fellow gamers and have fun whilst doing it.
Unfortunately, there are some people out there who just want to ruin it for everyone else.
If you encounter any toxicity as you play, try not to let them ruin your experience, and make sure that you report them. Always remember, don’t feed the trolls!