You know Dexter17 really is wonderful. Here’s another guest piece from him on teenagers.
What does the term “teenager” mean to you? For me it serves as a positive indication, but I know that many members of the online gaming community would hasten to highlight their contrasting connotations. For many online players the mere contemplation of a teenager comes with an expectation of abuse, immaturity and ignorance.[drop]
But when the average gaming age is twenty three, aren’t these stereotypical images to be expected? As a teenager myself, I am all too aware of the ungracious comments that fly around online lobbies on a daily basis. Some serve to provoke attention, but some are simply the product of ignorance and the unjustifiable air of confidence that makes being a teenager both daunting and exciting. Generally, a response to these tirades most commonly results in an unpleasant argument that proves excruciatingly irritating for you and the rest of the lobby. When you have switched on your PlayStation with the aim of relaxing it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, and even if you can utilise the powers of a mute button you can’t help but think that someone, somewhere, is cursing your name solely because you decided not to tolerate their verbal grievances.
I have always accepted the fact that members of the human race will naturally become braver behind anonymity, but I have come across a worrying trend recently that I personally find quite offensive. It now seems to be that the general online consensus is that if a game is full of the younger generation, then it simply deserves to be discarded and another game found. Many a time I have heard (and read, on internet forums) that if a game is full of thirteen to nineteen year olds, then it is a foregone conclusion that no one will play properly and that the lobby will suffer from lengthened abuse, made even worse by the use of the PS3’s built in voice changer.
I cannot even explain how angry these sorts of generalisations make me feel. I don’t deny that there are teenagers out there that actively search for arguments and make online lobbies hell, but aren’t there adults that go about executing similar practises too? I can confidently say that I venture into every online game with a friendly attitude, and when I have disclosed my age, the players at the other end have seemed genuinely surprised. Why? Because due to their past experiences they are under the misguided impression that the typical teenage gamer is frothing at the mouth and doesn’t know how to string a sentence together without a inserting a few four lettered words.
Frankly, these stereotyped ruminations need to stop. A brief flick through the comments section of this very website may highlight a few teenage comments laced with immaturity, but I’m betting that if you wanted to you could find several more teenage comments that are not only articulate, but funny and informative too. The teenagers of today are the developers and writers of tomorrow, and if they are tarnished with the same brush without a fair crack at the whip, then the videogame industry stands no chance of evolving into something better. So the next time you are in an online lobby and having to tolerate the ramblings of a teenager, look at the sixteen other players in the lobby without headsets. Sure, some of those sixteen are likely to be adults, but in amongst them, are teenagers who ultimately, want exactly the same thing as you; a challenging and enjoyable online experience.