Leo hung out with Adolf Htlr in the lobby of his Roblox game. When he told me this, I was uncharacteristically quiet for a minute.
“What?” was my eventual nuanced response.
“Yeah. I told him I was offended by his user name and he asked if I was a Jew. Then I said yes and also said that I thought other people would be offended. So then he said ‘burn all Jews’ and someone else joined in talking about the gas chambers.” He is telling me this in a matter-of-fact tone. Next to him Oliver is nodding his blond head in support.
“It was horrible,” Oliver adds.
Leo continued, “I asked him to go to another lobby and when he wouldn’t, I took a screen shot of our conversation and then I left.”
This sounded like a good start to me.
“Then I reported his user name to Roblox, but I didn’t get a screen shot of the part when they were talking about the gas chambers.”
So there it was. Threatening hate speech targeted at my kid and, possibly worse, a second voice chiming in support for Adolf Htlr.
We’re looking at each other across the table. My boys are calm. I think that my ten-year-old has handled it well. He stood up for himself. When that didn’t work he documented the problem, went to an authority figure (the game moderator), and then left the area. The only thing I wish he’d done differently was talk to me in real time about what was going on. He agrees to do this in the future and turns back to his plate as if things are all tidied up.
I realize that Leo isn’t taking this any more personally than if someone told him his voice sounded like a baby’s. This accusation occurs 20 times to every one time he is told he should die because of his religion. It seems time to review the difference between bigotry and trolling. Together we sit down and I watch him compose a second letter to the moderators of Roblox.
Dear Roblox, I am a ten-year-old boy who happens to be Jewish. I was playing Phantom…