Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who scored a legion of fans with Fortnite livestreams that have hooked millions, says trash-talking in the online gaming community needs to be monitored – but said it’s up to parents to help police it, too.
“There’s always that friendly banter. Sometimes it gets a little rough,” Ninja, one of the 2019 TIME 100 honorees, said at the TIME 100 Gala. “But I think that in general just the Internet as a whole is a place where people can say whatever they want with anonymity. It always needs to be monitored and people need to always be careful.”
But, he added: “I challenge parents to make sure that they’re reading their children’s tweets and their comments on Instagram posts and monitoring them. You know, be good parents.”
Thanks to the blue-haired pro gamer’s mastery of the insanely popular game, he’s extended his staggering reach into an offline empire. Blevins came to the TIME 100 Gala on Tuesday night in New York City to celebrate with the latest crop of luminaries
He said that becoming a professional gamer is incredibly difficult, but it’s achievable with hard work and dedication.
“I think you put your whole heart into what you want. And if you have the time — which everyone has the time — you can play 8 hours a day and still have 8 hours left in your day to go to school, do well, go to work. And even with a full-time job, you can still put in 8 hours,” he said.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster took part in Ninja’s iconic record-smashing stream last year that drew Drake and Travis Scott, drawing more than 600,000 viewers so it was only fitting that Smith-Schuster wrote Ninja’s TIME 100 profile.
“I was among the millions of people all across the world who had been watching Ninja play ‘Fortnite,’ the popular video game, every day for months,” he wrote in TIME. “He was the unquestioned best in the world at his craft, something I had so much respect for both as an athlete and as a fan. Now, he was single-handedly blending gaming and pop culture.”