A kinder, gentler gamer
By Jason Knopsnider (LPJ)
I'm currently sitting in a golf class for my 6 year old son, Ash. And as I'm sitting here the instructor is, very earnestly, teaching the kids about sportsmanship. The most important thing about playing golf, he says, is shaking hands with your opponent before play begins. He goes on to say that golf is a gentleman's game and that politeness is just as important as competition. That sentiment reminds me of something my father told me. He said it's no fun to be mean and play a game if everyone is going to be miserable while they're playing.
At this point you're probably thinking, what's old man LPJ taking about. What does this have to do with gaming. Well it should be pretty obvious; there's so much negativity online and in streams. Until I became a parent, I didn't notice how awful it can be. It didn't phase me when I saw it or heard it. Anonymity has given gamers and people in general the false belief that it's ok to be the worst version of themselves online. What they are really doing is being cowardly.
What takes true courage, is being anonymously kind. Not just online, but in life as well. Understanding that sportsmanship doesn't just count in person. It counts always, everywhere. It's a lesson I'm teaching Ash everyday, for every situation. And if he can extend that kindness once he starts his own online gaming, then maybe it will catch on to the people he plays with. And then they carry that kindness over into their lives. The world would look a lot different then. I know this all sounds kind of cheesy but there's a lot of gamers out there which I see as a lot of opportunity for change.