Online games are too restrictive on younger users

Have you ever enjoyed a game or something of the like? Of course you have; we all have.  Now, has that game’s fanbase ever been brought down over time by a kid fanbase? It’s a common phenomena, but that’s not a problem in itself. A problem starts when the game itself begins bringing itself down for its viewers.

That may sound bad on paper. Of course a game making itself more accessible to children would be good, right? Well, yes and no. A major example is the game “Among Us.”

“Among Us” is an infamous game for the now outdated memes, especially including those having to do with the live chat available during the meeting segments of the game. Originally, the game allowed anyone to say whatever they wanted, and swears could be censored with a toggleable filter. Now, the game doesn’t allow people under 18 to use free chat at all and restricts them to only pre existing message templates.

Not only is this restricting people’s freedom to say what they want, but this is also restricting gameplay. The game is very hinged upon its chat feature, and the objective is to find the player who is the impostor. Having to play charades with what the game gives you just to either prove you’re innocent or accuse someone else with actual merit is very difficult.

The reason this has all been done, of course, is because of the wide fan base of children that “Among Us” harbors. As mentioned before, anyone under 18 is forced to do this, but those over 18 don’t. This is due to the bullying that could take place over “Among Us,” as gameplay could get intense. Restricting the chat would fix this in theory, and it did, but it also caused more problems than it’s worth.

An actual solution to this problem could be introducing or improving the report feature. The report feature (as in, reporting users for misconduct, not reporting a body in the game) could be used to report users who bully others (or worse). Say, for example, someone who gets reported thrice gets their account temporarily suspended. 

Another would be age locked lobbies. For example, younger kids would be restricted to their own lobbies, people 13-17 have their own lobbies and anyone 18 and over have their own. 

This could reduce the main problem, that being adults making fun of kids, but not entirely eliminate it. This may seem counterintuitive, but think: did the original idea, that being restricting only those who were typically the victims, fix anything?