The Scary Truth About Human Empathy’s Decline No One Talks About
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I got a strange message the other day.
It was, I presume, from a very young man.
And apart from being drenched in that unmistakable adolescent anger at everything and everyone, it also implied that I’m being far too sensitive and whiny. Just like all the other women on the internet.
Apparently, we don’t get to complain about rape and death threats and being called every misogynistic slur under the sun and all that other lovely stuff because men experience all that, too, and that’s ‘just the way things are.’
‘Try being an online gamer for an hour’, the message concluded.
Well. Aside from an occasional afternoon of building houses in the Sims or playing silly adventure games with my partner, I admit I don’t have much experience with video games. And none in the online kind.
I did ask my partner about it, though, as he used to play all sorts of online games ever since they became popular (and possible) and still does every now and then. He confirmed that it can be an extraordinarily toxic and hostile environment.
But he also said that while even back in the early days of gaming sporadical insults were the norm, they became more frequent, hateful, and unhinged over the years. To the point that being told to ‘kill yourself’ for not playing a game well is now a pretty common occurrence.
And I can’t help but feel that the rise of toxicity in the gaming world and beyond, combined with this oddly callous dismissal of the problem by some people, is just a symptom of something even more worrying.
Toxicity in online gaming is rampant, but that’s not the most worrying thing about it
Although the video game industry has been booming in the last decade, and there are roughly 3.26 billion gamers worldwide — 41% of the entire population of our planet — there hasn’t been much interest in what actually happens in the online gaming environments…