The 'toxic' online chat culture in games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft has been blamed after a teenage boy racially abused his step dad.
The white 16-year-old used a vile racial slur when his black step parent locked him out of the wifi and banned him from playing video games until he had done his household chores. The boy's furious biological dad grounded the teenager for a month, when he found out about his son's use of the slur.
The 43-year-sparked an online debate about the toxicity of online gaming chat when he asked social media forum Reddit if he had done the right thing grounding his son for so long. Posting under the username throwawayfatherhoody, he wrote: "I'm divorced (have been for a few years now) and my ex remarried recently.
"Her new husband (Jonathan) is black (we're white). He and my ex are now expecting a baby together. He also has two teenage boys himself.
"My ex and I share custody, but our son spends most of his time at my place because he has more room and privacy here. Last weekend he was at his mom's and on Sunday, he called me all upset saying to come pick him up.
"I rushed over there and found out that he got into a fight with Jonathan over some chores and Jonathan locked him out of wifi and banned him from video games until he does his chores (which is how my ex and I also discipline him, and Jonathan has our permission to do the same if my son acts out – he can use the same methods he uses with his sons).
"More longterm/serious punishments are of course decided between my ex and I, but 'no video games today' type of thing is totally fine for Jonathan to do. My ex and Jonathan then told me that my son got all upset over this punishment and told Jonathan to '**** off'.
"Jonathan then told him to stop talking like that, to which my son replied 'you and your sons ruined my life, so you dont get to tell me what to do. I won't take orders from a [racial slur] anyway.'
"I asked my son if this is all true. He said yes. He actually called him the [racial slur].
"I lost it and told my son he is grounded for the whole month of December. My ex agreed. He is obviously annoyed and angry, because he had tons of plans with his friends.
"He said that I am overreacting to one word and am being unfair. My brother and mom agree with my son, and are saying that the punishment doesn't fit the crime."
However, the Reddit community has backed the dad's decision. And while they agree the boy's uncle and grandma could be part of the problem, they suggested the 'toxic' culture of online gaming was probably even more to blame.
In a response that has been upvoted nearly 35,000 times in just 24 hours, Vinceandfigtree said: "I’m sure your ex and Jonathan appreciate this more than you know. It is worth trying to figure out what kinds of online communities your son is spending time in, he is the perfect demographic to be recruited by alt right creeps."
"Yes, the family reaction is problematic. But unless the son, uncle, and grandma have a secret bunker where they go to be racist for multiple hours a day and no one is around to hear them, it is 500000% more likely a typical teenage boy is spending more time each day on online forums, tiktok, and/or MMO [massively multiplayer online] gaming than sitting alone with extended family members.
"Limiting access to grandma isn’t going to single-handedly fix the issue if he has virtually unlimited access to toxic spaces online."
ColdThanks replied: "They should also look at what games he is playing. Call of Duty (and similar games like Rainbow Six) voice chats are some of the most toxic places to exist. I am not blaming the games; I'm blaming the toxic chats."
Vanishing-Cookies said: "I ain’t never been called so many slurs before I made a Steam [a digital distribution service for video games] account."
WorldasChaos added: "Same, I strictly play SP [single player] games/offline now. I get enough toxicity irl [in real life], no need to subject myself to it during fun time when I don't have to."
Whyteoliander chipped in: "I loved playing wow [World of Warcraft]classic but the toxicity against women eventually caused me to quit.