Imagine that your daughter is playing Fortnite, and a troll in another country joins the game and begins sexually harassing her. Imagine that your son is watching his favorite video gamer live-stream an eSports game, and the streamer begins to shout obscenities.
Disruptive behavior like this has become routine in video games. The system that guides the appropriateness of content on these platforms is obsolete, and children who play video games are exposed to inappropriate and abusive behavior. To fix this, and make video games safe for children, we need a new content rating system for the eSports era.
With the rise of eSports, video games are no longer just a hobby, as they were in my elementary school days when I used to play Super Mario on my Super Nintendo. In eSports, professional gamers compete in video game leagues and tournaments like the Overwatch League and the International DOTA2 Championships, where the prize money can reach into the millions of dollars.
The eSports industry wants legitimacy in the world of sports, and it’s succeeding. Video games are evolving to a place where they are treated like athletic sports, and the gamers treated like athletes. Pro gamers sign yearly contracts with teams and practice for hours and hours to enhance their skills and build team strategies. Those who make it to the top enjoy worldwide fame, like South Korean pro gamer Lee Sang-hyeok, known as Faker, who has been called “eSports’ Michael Jordan.”