The Sad Parents of #Gamergate

All around the country, parents are sitting down to have the talk with their children. Not about sex or mortality or college. They’re having the talk about Gamergate. From our own comments:

I have a 17 year old son and trying to point out the actual facts in this story is like trying to convince a rabid 70 year old FOX viewer that Obama is not a terrorist, born on Mars, here to take your guns.
“It’s about ethics, mom. Don’t you care about ETHICS?”

He’s not down with the death threats though, so I guess Yay?

Imagine! You hear your child talking animatedly about something. He steps closer and you hear him say “bias” and “Sarkeesian.” The words drip with spite. Later, you hear him through the bedroom door, talking to his webcam: “No, it’s about corruption in games journalism!” What do you do?

This is not an isolated phenomenon. On Metafilter:

My son is 19, with mild ASD. Sometime in the last 2 years he discovered 4chan. At first he was just reading /co, but now he is almost addicted to /pol and /v. Before he went back to college he was constantly online, getting all worked up about Zoe Quinn and gamergate.

I raised him to be a feminist, a liberal and a kind person. It hurts me that he is involved with such sexist, racist, anti-Semitic people. I don’t even have the words to express how sad this makes me.

Because he is 19, he of course knows more than me. I’m just his ignorant mom. So I don’t even know how to approach this conversation. What do I say that won’t just make him dig his heels in more?

Here’s what it looks like from the other side of the barrel. From Reddit:

My dad and I got into an argument about #GamerGate today. He said I need to try and see the other side’s point of view. But that’s the problem. They haven’t, they’ve just sat back and called us White Cis Heterosexual Male Misogynists. (BTW, if you do have a legitimate argument about #GamerGate that won’t simply devolve into cries of sexism for “cries of sexism”’s sake I [and several others, I’m sure] would love to hear them)

But the problem with arguing about #GamerGate with someone that isn’t a gamer, is they don’t truly understand what this experience puts the whole gaming community through.

We started #GamerGate with a simple request. Give us some f-ing integrity with your reporting. Don’t suck up to developers, over-hyping video games that couldn’t live up to the impossibly high standards you set them to (See Watch_Dogs and Destiny) Were they bad games? Not really, but they didn’t deserve as much of the hype that they received.

But my dad will insist that I need to show some respect for the other side’s opinion. So I simply ask to those who oppose #GamerGate, “Besides feeding the trolls of the internet attempting to sabotage a movement with good intentions, why would you oppose a call for ethics in gaming journalism?”

DAD. And:

I actually talked to my dad about this, and he looked at me funny. Not because he thought I was wrong, or that we were in the wrong, but I don’t think me explaining the opposition made absolutely any sense to him.

Some parents are attempting to engage in earnest, before things curdle:

He likes to think that the GGrs are benign heroes who are “misunderstood”. Um, I think not. I’ve sent him two new links. BOOM. Take that!

— Michele Mills (@mills_michele) October 12, 2014

@Palaxar What other side?How can there be nuance if there are threats of violence?Though I TOTALLY understand that not ALL gamers hate women

— DougalsBeard (@DougalsBeard) October 16, 2014

@Palaxar I appreciate the dialogue! My son is a gamer and I want him to have open eyes about all good and bad about the community…

— DougalsBeard (@DougalsBeard) October 16, 2014

And a few parents are trying to preempt things entirely:

@moryan I was just trying to explain it all to my 11YO gamer son, but it’s hard to make it not sound INSANE 🙁

— Matt Mitovich (@MattMitovich) October 15, 2014

Received a text from my fourteen year old son “ What’s gamer gate?” What the hell do I say here?

— Ross Ireland (@R_J_I) October 15, 2014

I want to give context and not just drop “ they’re bad” but the depths of it is noxious. How do I explain it to a kid?

— Ross Ireland (@R_J_I) October 15, 2014

But then there’s the other type of Gamergate parent. The MOVEMENT parent:

I told my son about what SJWs want to do to games His response “but that won’t make games fun then” Priceless from an 11 Year old #gamergate

— Beelzs Zabub (@BeelzsZabub) September 26, 2014

@daveweigel My son the “gamer” is learning the true nature of the American “news” industry earlier than most people do thanks to this story.

— Ballistic Prince (@BallisticPrince) October 15, 2014

There are some self-described moderates of course:

I’m a gamer, I’m not ashamed of calling myself that and I take offense at the notion that I should. I’ve been playing video games for more than 30 years, been a game developer for more than 10. I’m enjoying playing video game with my son and I’m looking forward to be playing them with my soon to be born daughter. I refuse to be held accountable for the actions of others.

I’m a left leaning liberal and I fully support GamerGate.

There are proud parents demonstrating solidarity with their Gamergate kids:

My son is following it and is outraged enough for our whole family. It’s probably justified too as people may well have based spending decisions on biased information.

There are parents cautiously expressing concern:

@jamesmelay @Boogie2988 My son is a 15 y/o gamer (and fan of Boogie’s) and I am hoping that this doesn’t effect his identity negatively.

— Vance (@VanceMc14) October 14, 2014

It’s October, 2014. Do you know which side of Gamergate your child is on?

Image by Flightsaber