Remember a time when people had to watch their kids and what they play? Now, you have to watch what they watch for free. It could lead them to be obnoxious aggressive bratty online gamers.
A couple of days ago, pro streamer Ninja shared this insight on losing with many of us on Twitter.
The phrase “it’s just a game” is such a weak mindset. You are ok with what happened, losing, imperfection of a craft. When you stop getting angry after losing, you’ve lost twice.— Ninja (@Ninja) February 18, 2020
There’s always something to learn, and always room for improvement, never settle.
Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who gets rich just streaming and shilling hard on Fortnite because he couldn’t stay on in esports. I do get why he said that, but he could have phrased it better and more eloquently, knowing full well that a TON of children and under-18 folks who watch him justify their tempers and rage whenever they lose in a game.
Enter Twitter user Voidrantsback, who brought up an anecdote about her previously ill-tempered nephew who mellowed down after he was banned from watching Ninja stream Fortnite.
My nephew played Fortnite. Whenever he lost, he would scream that the other player was a hacker, and refused to hear otherwise. I and his uncle are lifelong gamers. When we tried to explain that he needed to get better, he grew so angry with us that he began to hit us. When we tried to explain that he was 7 and didn’t necessarily have the physical response time as someone else, he would simply scream that we were calling him ‘bad’ and run away.
When we tried to explain that he was playing on a Switch and Ninja on a keyboard and mouse so Ninja would have different response times, he would tell us we were ‘stupid idiots who didn’t know what we were talking about’. He would get so angry at the very idea that he lost that it was impossible for him to get better. He would throw his Switch. He would punch things. He would hit his brother. He was a child who had no nuanced understanding of his rage.
When we found out that he watched Ninja, my partner and I IMMEDIATELY banned him from watching Ninja ever again. He threw a giant tantrum and hated us and refused to listen to us. He said Ninja was the ‘best gamer ever’.
But once we banned Ninja, he calmed down. He was able to rationalise his losses. He watched YouTubers we recommended (because they were calm and taught people). And you know what? That’s when he got better at the game. Now when he loses Fortnite he sits down for a solid minute and thinks ‘Could I have won?’ and if the answer is ‘No’, he shrugs and goes back to playing. If the answer is ‘Yes’, then he will write down what he should have done so he can remember it.
Our nephew’s emotional and mental health improved dramatically when we banned Ninja from his life.
My nephew came from a domestic violence situation.— Voidra has evolved into Entropress (@voidrantsback) February 19, 2020
He watched Ninja because Ninja's behaviour reflected the behaviour of his abusive father, which was normal for him.
Think on that for a while.
This thread on Resetera received a lot of positive feedback, with some members sharing their thoughts on their kids and nephews/nieces also adopting Ninja’s habits as perfectly acceptable human behaviour. Newsflash: it isn’t, if you’re talking about throwing temper tantrums and slurs at either your opponent if he trashes you, or at your teammates if they supposedly aren’t pulling their weight.
To say that streamer influence on kids is powerful is putting it mildly.
With TV and streaming, you have a lot more options to restrict your kids and/or young nephews/nieces so that they don’t end up watching something R-rated intentionally.
With YouTube and Twitch however, most of these gaming livestreams appear innocuous until halfway through the gameplay where the streamer in question might break out and do something close to R-rated but within the guidelines of the platform they’re on. It’s essentially a Wild West wasteland that is still unfettered & chaotic up to this day.
I’m not saying every streamer is as toxic and as negatively influential as Ninja, but it does take a bad apple or two to make the impressionable youth adopt such distasteful behaviour and turning it into the norm.
To them, Ninja and other similar streamers are relatable everyday-looking folks dressed up like them to a point. They look up to these sweater-wearing hypebeast-imitating sponsor-shilling players like how 90s kids look up to grunge rock icons. Except with more obnoxious subtext to them.
Upstream To Hell
The whole point here is that seeing young children absorbing hours of YouTube and Twitch, especially with parents who treat their smart devices as babysitter/nanny replacements, is genuinely frightening. Streamers like Ninja are influential in moulding today’s young generation to possibly turn into online pricks who hide in anonymity and be totally bad sports in online play. Role models where their goal is to just play damn well and entertain any way they see fit, even if it devolves to just being toxic in an online battle royale shooter.
Heck, they might even take things to a violent and physical level if these streamers and influencers do not keep their antics in check. Parents still need to discipline their kids and limit their intake, but online platforms too need to set standards and guidelines; to make their user’s streams either be strict with age gates for content, or create tools for parents and guardians to curb streaming and free content-watching time.
Because if this goes unchecked and runs rampant, we may eventually live in a world filled with male and female Ninja clones with unsportsmanlike behaviour in and out of the online space.
That is more than enough for the most sensible of us to quit gaming forever.