Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins has called for parents to take an active role in fighting toxicity online, and explained why it’s so important — especially in a world that is using the internet more and more every day.
Ninja knows better than most the highs and lows of online stardom. Having risen to prominence as one of Twitch’s most-viewed personalities, the broadcaster-turned-Fortnite aficionado moved to Mixer in a shocking turn of events, leaving his huge Twitch legacy behind him in the process.
However, this unsurprisingly incited a wave of criticism against the gaming star, who was already well-aware of the behavior of young players during online matches.
The online troll has even become a widespread stereotype — but Ninja believes that parents can help mitigate the oft-bemoaned state of online toxicity.
During a January 24 interview with the New York Times’ David Marchese, Ninja stated that the parents of young gamers can play a huge 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, noting the all-too-common occurrence of racial slurs being slung in online gaming matches — something that can even get Twitch streamers banned, if said during their broadcasts.
“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.”
“It is not my job” – Ninja
Responding to criticism on Twitter, Ninja argued “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
Jessica Blevins responds to backlash
Ninja’s comments have unsurprisingly sparked debate on social media, and his wife and manager Jessica Blevins has spoken out in defense of her husband. “If ANY of these people tweeting actually watched Ninja stream, they’d know how many times he’s spoken out about issues of racism, white privilege, and having zero tolerance for racism in his games or channel.”
If ANY of these people tweeting actually watched Ninja stream, they’d know how many times he’s spoken out about issues of racism, white privilege, and having zero tolerance for racism in his games or channel. He DOES his part. He just isn’t holding a seminar on the topic. https://t.co/5ah5beXNDu
— Jessica Blevins (@JessicaBlevins) January 26, 2021
“He does his part. He just isn’t holding a seminar on the topic,” Blevins concluded.
Ninja’s conversation on toxicity isn’t out of the blue; studies report online harassment and cyberbullying has risen 70% amid the ongoing health crisis.
While it’s impossible to monitor everything your child does online, Ninja’s interview does raise an interesting topic of conversation as the world turns to the internet while traveling and gatherings are out of the question.