Games don’t cause gun violence. It’s old news. It’s not a statement worthy of rebuttal. In one of the many debates of this topic over the years - back when the games industry was arguing to get R18+ ratings for games in Australia - one expert pointed out that playing games is now so pervasive it would be like saying that shoes were a cause of gun violence.
But there are big problems lurking within the gaming community online. Dark attitudes, open hostility to all who aren’t white straight males. #NotAllGamers, of course. But there’s a lot of it out there, and when people think it’s a joke to phone police to report an incident at someone’s house in order to have armed forces arrive ready to shoot them? When it happens often enough that it gets a name (swatting)? There’s deep problems in the community.
Many of these gamers ask to be taken seriously while acting like juvenile delinquents on a regular basis. It’s a mess.
The big tip for parents - worry less about which games your kids are playing and more about the people they’re playing with online and the communities they’re associating with on the web. That’s where toxic attitudes are normalised.
Don’t hate the games, hate some of the players.
Byteside Socials! More Stories, More Curation
I’m starting to ramp up more curated links to interesting tech, games, and digital culture news across the various Byteside social accounts. Follow them here!
A newsletter and/or podcast specifically for parents?
I was talking to a researcher for a TV show last week and for the fiftieth time in recent years I was told I should do something to keep parents up to date with the latest discussions around tech, games, social media, and all that jazz. How to keep up, latest thinking on how to balance screens and offline, etc.
So I’m asking you - what do you think? Would you want something like that? I do some of it here, but perhaps a fortnightly newsletter exclusively focused on parenting kids and teens in a tech-centric world would be helpful to folks?
I’m concerned not enough people would actually use it and I’d be wasting effort trying to do it. I’ve argued in the past, in rather jaded fashion, that a lot of parents like to perform the act of being worried but don’t want to do the work of helping educate their kids on healthy screen and social media habits.
Byteside Stories & Podcasts
Also ramping up: direct writing at byteside.com. Here’s the latest!
Why I wrote the above...
This is pretty much what triggered the above discussion. Off the back of the gun violence last week, as gaming pundits defended games once again, something like this happens.
People have been killed in swattings. People have gone to jail for doing this. But still a lot of people think it’s pretty funny because all it takes is a phone call. It feels like the kind of teen prank that is so easy to think is funny if you’ve surrounded yourself with toxic idiots online. Then suddenly you find yourself arrested because you got someone killed. Game over.
Brianna Wu was a target during the Gamergate days. She’s also a game developer. This piece is a really insightful piece that helps elucidate the complex issues in online gaming communities.
Better Game Things
Twitch is releasing its own streaming software to help first time streamers dive in and have some fun. A good initiative for lowering the barrier to entry.
Huawei’s long-rumored Android alternative, Hongmeng, is finally official. At today’s Huawei Developer Conference, the company’s Consumer Business Group CEO Rich…
One of two devices recently filed by Sonos with the FCC is a battery-powered portable speaker. The company describes it as a “high-performance” addition to its product lineup.
As a long-time Sonos fan, I’m excited! Having a Sonos I can move around the house or take on the road feels like the best of both worlds.
Touchscreens are lovely for casual interfaces, but for serious life-or-death control systems? I find it annoying enough that many controls in my car are now on a touchscreen. Give me buttons I can reach for in the dark without looking!
DeepMind’s AI has beaten chess grandmasters and Go champions. But founder and CEO Demis Hassabis now has his sights set on bigger, real-world problems that could change lives. First up: protein folding
With each news cycle, the false-information system grows more efficient.
Samsung Unpacked Highlights
Here’s a few of the key news angles from last week’s Samsung launch event. The new Note 10 looks good!
Samsung has upgraded DeX for the Note 10 to introduce compatibility with Windows and Mac computers, letting you put your phone screen on your laptop’s display.
Samsung’s latest iteration of the S Pen stylus has a new trick: it can be used to perform air gestures, effectively turning it into a Bluetooth wand.
One of the more interesting news tidbits from yesterday’s Unpacked event got a bit drowned out in all of the noise.
It’s been ages since Samsung had a laptop in the Australian market. But the new Book S is coming - it has enough power for your average user and a battery that claims to last 23 hours.
That survey again...
One more reminder: helping with this survey would be amazing. Thank you.