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Popular Twitch streamer Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins shares his thoughts about toxicity online and the role parents should play to combat it.
In an interview with the New York Times’ David Marchese, Ninja stated that parents play an important role in changing the environment of internet culture for the positive.
“People are behind the screen,” Ninja explained. “They say what they want and can get away with it. You have complete anonymity… it sucks that there are kids who can say racist things and be incredibly aggressive and threatening to women online and have zero repercussions.”
“It all comes down to parenting,” he continued. “You want to know who your kid is? Listen to him when he’s playing video games when he thinks you’re not.”
Ninja went on to discuss racism on the internet, stating that it’s not his job to educate kids on culture or topics related to race, it’s the parent’s job.
“If they’re gaming and their first interaction with racism is one of their friends saying the N-word and they have no idea what it is–what if it was on my stream?” Ninja asked. “Is it my job to have this conversation with this kid? No, because the first thing that’s going on in my head is, This kid is doing this on purpose to troll me. If someone says a racial slur on someone else’s stream, it can potentially get that streamer banned. It’s awful, but that’s the first thing I think of.”
Ninja also responded to criticism on Twitter: “It is not my job to sit down and make a video with all of my audiences and do a lesson on civil right and how not to be a racist. I show that I am a good person through my actions and how I treat people and those around me, every. Single. Day.”
It is not my job to sit down and make a video with all of my audiences and do a lesson on civil rights and how to not be a racist. I show that I am a good person through my actions and how I treat people and those around me, every. Single. Day.— Ninja (@Ninja) January 26, 2021
Ninja also pointed out that the fault doesn’t fall on gaming, but on the anonymity does embolden people to say what they want with little to no repercussions.
“I don’t think it’s gaming. I think it’s internet culture. People are behind the screen. They say what they want and can get away with it. You have complete anonymity. Your information and data are precious and should remain private, but it sucks that there are kids who can say racist things and be incredibly aggressive and threatening to women online and have zero repercussions. It would be awesome if when someone said something threatening, you could be like, ‘Let me look up this dude’s gamer tag on this website’–if the law could do this, not a normal person–and then boom: ‘It’s Jimmy. He said this. Let’s call his parents.’”
Ninja’s discussion on toxicity online isn’t out of the blue; studies report online harassment and cyberbullying has risen 70% amid the ongoing health crisis.