Toxicity and negativity permeate every aspect of our lives.

Bad examples certainly outweigh good rules.

John Locke .

In the last video, we talked about what toxicity is and how it’s firmly entrenched in our modern world. We talked about the rules of good tone and how to protect ourselves from the negativity online. But as they say, it’s better to see it once. And I want to start this conversation with this quote from a British philosopher, because it’s so accurate.

Toxicity and negativity permeate every aspect of our lives. The Internet is no exception, and more than that, it is a vivid example of how unpleasant and traumatic interactions with some people can be. Today we’re going to talk about the specific forms of toxicity that people face within the gaming community. We also take a closer look at what to do and how to behave properly.

Don’t you know that you’re toxic?

There’s no way to answer the question Britney Spears asked. In some cases, people who show signs of toxic behavior actually know it. Sometimes they don’t. When we talk about gaming, it’s not always easy to recognize toxicity.

Verbal abuse is the most common type of party. And rivals or even teammates often ignore all moral boundaries and allow themselves to descend to the level of vulgar and demeaning epithets for family… Yeah, we’re talking about jokes about mothers and sisters and other close and not-so-close relatives. Why is this happening?

There are a few hypotheses here:.

  1. The feeling of impunity. The internet couch heroes would not dare to make such comments in the street, as they would almost certainly get punched in the face. It’s easier on the Internet.

  2. A common failure to accept defeat. When a person loses, he is overcome with emotion and, unable to control himself, he begins to insult his opponent.

  3. Bored. Yeah, that’s also possible. Sometimes people just call each other names for fun.

  4. A sense of control. Some people take pleasure in the opportunity to spoil the mood of others by using insults.

  5. Education and environment. When bad examples are all around, they will somehow make themselves known.

However, it is worth noting that the matter is not always limited to the vulgar. In some cases, people build their negativity around racial, national, and gender insults, which significantly adds to the aggressor’s guilt. In some lands, such insults can result in heavy fines or even a short prison sentence.

This is not all the cruelty and negativity that can be found in interacting with others online and in video games. There are far more sophisticated and subtle ways to ruin your mood. Let’s talk about them, too. We’ve been talking about the most common forms of toxicity — the banal rudeness and insults to racial or gender identity.

Sometimes girls are the targets of ignorant gamers. As soon as the teammates find out that they are being played by a girl, the male teammates immediately start making silly jokes and making fun of each other. I don’t think we should go into the reasons for this behavior, except to say that it’s not a gentlemanly thing to do.

Among the typical histories of toxicity, harassment and unsportsmanlike conduct, there is a lesser known but common form of toxicity the so-called power trips. It’s a method or set of methods that some gamers use to feel their power over others.

The most common manifestation of this toxicity is cheating. But not to win the match, but to make everyone else angry. These cheaters are difficult to deal with, and are most commonly found in free-to-play games, as in the case of a banned account, they can create a new one in a matter of minutes.

Such cheaters may select one or more victims and then conduct a systematic hunt, using provocative phrases and expressions in the chat. Even if the account is blocked, they will return and continue to pursue the chosen targets. Unfortunately, escaping this toxicity is difficult – often you have to take a break or create a new account.

Another type of power trip doesn’t rely on cheats and hacks, it requires more organization and often comes with economic motivations. The point is to deny other players the opportunity to achieve the desired goal. An example of this is World of Warcraft Classic. In the first few months after the game’s release, several players decided to piss off everyone, regardless of faction. “Spies” can send messages to agents from the opposite faction. Several high-level players would soon appear on the scene and attack the player, preventing him from completing the task or stealing a valuable resource from under his nose. They placed “spies” in one of the mob zones, which dropped a valuableResource.

There was no great economic benefit to this activity, as these high-level gamers could have been farming and making more money at the same time. However, for them, this activity was a kind of entertainment after the character was killed. Sometimes they sent abusive or threatening messages to the chat, sometimes they reproduced gestures. It became a kind of hunt for them, with some even betting with each other in-game gold on how long their prey would last and how many rounds it would take.

This form of toxicity is on the edge of legitimacy, as the events take place on a PvP server. Dealing with these hunters, complaints and letters of support is extremely difficult. Technically, they didn’t break anything. So it’s very difficult to deal with this toxicity, let alone do it on your own.

We can’t completely eradicate toxicity, but we can do two things that will make our in-game and forum experience safer. The first is to not show any signs of toxic behavior yourself. It’s pretty easy, if you think about it. Consider the rules and examples in this and our previous article, and just keep your temper under control.

The second is a little more complicated. It’s about learning to identify toxic behaviors in other people and how to deal with them. How to do that is something we should talk about separately.

How do you deal with toxic people?

The increased risk of encountering toxic behavior in a gaming community is no reason to deny yourself the pleasure of video games. The most important thing is to understand what forms of negativity you might encounter. Then you can prepare and develop the right tactics and behaviors to minimize unpleasant experiences and negative emotions.

Here are some simple steps and rules that will help you build an effective defense:.

  1. Understand your own vulnerabilities. The very first step to success is to identify and document the things and patterns in other people’s behavior that hurt you the most. This will help you to make a sober assessment of the risks involved.

  2. In the case of toxic behavior, it’s not always worth responding. Step two is to think about the logic of the behavior if the encounter with a toxic audience has happened. All right, you knew this in advance (see paragraph 1) and now how you’re going to respond to the offender. The “eye for an eye” tactic is often what feeds the aggressor. Sometimes it’s better to avoid open conflict, so you’re “closing off oxygen” to the attacker and they lose interest in you, move on to the next target.

  3. If you’re going to answer, do it right. When you respond to an attacker, don’t mirror him. If you have been insulted, it is unlikely that retaliation will be effective. You’ll probably sink to the level of your opponent, where he’ll overwhelm you with experience. You don’t have to teach or moralise.

  4. Don’t take it to heart. Easier said than done. However, when confronted with unmotivated aggression online or in video games, it is good to remember that the abuser in your life is just a random passerby.

A momentary negative reaction from a stranger is not worth ruining your mood, your evening, and your overall experience of the game. Let’s try to be nice to each other. But we must remember that toxicity cannot be defeated, only protected by proper boundaries. Even better, we can influence others by our positive example.

Secure communication on the Internet.

Unfortunately, toxicity is not limited to individual games or communities, it extends beyond chat rooms and virtual worlds and is often present in everyday life.

None of us should have to put up with this kind of crap. The more so because individual cases can be psychologically traumatic, especially when the phenomenon is organized.

Many apps and social networks in recent years have added various solutions and technologies to create a comfortable environment for users. Unfortunately, it’s often hidden somewhere deep in the settings.

VKontakte has found a simple and effective solution to protect its users. Recently, we launched the Privacy Mode, a simple way to temporarily limit the range of interactions with just one click.

Just go to the “Privacy” section in the settings and activate the “Personal space” mode. The profile will immediately go into a private format, and all interaction will be limited to friends. Only they can add to chats, ask questions, tag photos, text and call (customizable feature) And only friends or friends of friends can add you as a friend.

Once the mode is activated, the user will see special thematic materials and recommendations for improving mental health in the tape.

The “Personal Space” mode is valid for one week, after which it can be extended.

VKontakte also developed a neural network that automatically detects if a user’s comments or posts contain a lot of negative comments from strangers, and suggests turning on the Personal Space feature.

This function is useful not only as a means of minimizing toxicity. We all need a break from time to time, a pause from attention and communication. It’s a chance to focus on personal goals, and it’s also a great vacation measure so that random messages or comments from strangers don’t distract you from your vacation.

You can learn more about how the “Personal Space” works and what else VKontakte does to protect users here.

As a result.

VKontakte’s new “Personal Space” feature will make you feel less stressed when communicating online. Toxicity is the constant of the modern world. The best way to protect yourself is to be prepared and to set boundaries. Now you know what to expect on the battlefields of video games.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

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