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Reader Comments (19)

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 11:29AM MewmewGrrl said

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I never was monitored online and I've been playing online games since I was 9 years old. Unfortunately, being a real girl and very shy and at the time easy to push around, I got in a lot of situations that I shouldn't have and that made my life online not so fun. I also gave people who asked my phone number, I was very young at the time and didn't see the harm in it (I was so naive...). There were many bad things that happened because of it, and most of it I hid from my Parents out of fear I'd be blamed and I'd lose my net access (which probably would have happened too). I was forced to take a break after a real life stalker came to my house tho (and yes it's a true story) and I couldn't hide that one from them. The same thing started to happen to my cousin, and her Parents made her play all male characters online (seriously heh). If I had it to do all over again I'd do things so much differently, but such is life.

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 12:23PM (Unverified) said

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This is an important segment and series. Sure, it was well written and provided information, but it may be more important in terms of re-framing how we think about games. The message that we should be involved with all parts of our children lives is critical. Whether it is sports, music, the mathaletes, or MMOs parents should take a vested interest. Too many parents see games as a distraction and even abnormal or unhealthy. Yes, it is deleterious, like anything else, when unsupervised. Mewmew's very candid and brave post highlights the importance of this.

It always comes back to the parents: involvement, involvement, and appropriate involvement.

Keep this one going, guys! Excellent new feature.
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Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 11:30AM Cendres said

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What a great segment!

Looking forwards to more tips from you, heck this should be required reading for anyone with gaming kids online, especially if the parents don't game themselves, they assume a lot I find. :S

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 12:49PM Cendres said

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I reply to myself because I want to go further into my experiences with non gaming parents.

I worked at a computer and software store for a few months, and it became obvious my specialty was video games. ^.^ So I ended up selling a lot, but you may or may not be surprised how many parents came in with their 9 to 12 year old children wanting to buy them World of Warcraft.. When they asked I always asked if the parents played already and often they'd say no, so I'd ask where the child heard about the game and 90% of the time they heard from a friend at school who plays either by themselves are on their parent's account.

So then I'd ask the parents is they were aware that this is an online game and that anyone at all can interact with their child and, often this was enough to enlighten some but other times I really had to drive the point home like saying it's in your best interest to sit beside your child as they play and to set parental controls to make sure your child does suffer any kind of abuse. Now THAT usually does the trick, the only parents willing to go through those lengths are MMO gamers themselves. ;)
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Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 11:33AM Dlangar said

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As a dad who's maintained 4 city of heroes accounts for years so that everyone in his family could play together, I can't say how much I am glad to see a column like this. Here's some additional information for gaming parents and parents of gamers. Most houses have exactly one console of any one type. But many many households have multiple PC's. MMO's are the perfect cooperative family game, and these days there are more choices than ever for games that can be casually played and enjoyed by both kids and adults.

Nicely done Massively & Lisa for recognizing and paying attention to this growing and important demographic.

Dusty, aka Dlangar

http://ofcourseillplayit.com

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 1:15PM (Unverified) said

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This is a fantastic new idea. I will look forward to reading more.

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 11:44AM (Unverified) said

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Thanks CindyL and Dlangar. Since Massively readers are already gamers, we hope we can delve into things at a *little* deeper angle -- but I also anticipate lots of linkables to send to your friends who are non-gaming parents as well. Please, if you have any particular questions or issues, send them to me at lisa (at) massively (dot) com. Reader (read: relevant) questions are tops!

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 11:40AM Tom in VA said

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As a gaming parent of gaming kids, I really appreciated this article.

The "safety issue" is paramount with me. One of my biggest concerns as a parent of kids playing MMOs (WoW, mainly, but also CoX and LotRO) is that, while 99% of other MMO players are just fine, one does encounter the occasional obnoxious creep or jerk.

So, our standing rule is that general and/or OOC chat gets turned off, and I don't allow my younger kids to group up with other players.

One workaround for this issue is to find MMOs in which 1 to 3 players can accomplish all or most of the content so that we can, as it were, keep the group content "in the family." Guild Wars was absolutely perfect for this.

I have often wished that games such as LotRO and WoW would offer smaller-group (or even solo) alternatives to some of their instanced content -- say, dungeons scaled to party size. Unfortunately, there seems to be some unwritten rule in MMO-dom that "group" content MUST have parties of at least 5 (WoW) or 6 (LotRO) players.

That said, most MMOs still offer a ton of solo and small-group content (other than the instances, of course). My hope is that GW2, STO, and SWTOR will be more "solo, duo, and trio friendly" than the current crop of MMOs.

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 12:00PM Wisdomandlore said

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LOTRO has a number of 3-man instances, and Turbine is even going back and turning some of the older instances (like Great Barrows and Garth Agarwen) into 3-man s. Also the new Skirmish system coming in Siege of Mirkwood scales to different party sizes.
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Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 12:22PM Kuroyume said

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You may want to try DDO... most instances have a "solo" setting, and both Normal and Hard difficulties scale with party size.

The community is also pretty decent, and certainly a lot better than WoW
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Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 2:23PM Tom in VA said

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The three-man instances in LotRO currently do not show up until around the Moria level and beyond, and my kids haven't gotten nearly that far -- since they do not play MMOs full time. ;)

I was not aware that some of the earlier instances were being reworked as 3-mans, though. That is good news indeed.

Thanks, Wisdom.
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Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 12:07PM (Unverified) said

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As a teacher and hopefully future parent, I thought this was a fantastic article. I'll be sharing this with my guild. There's a lot to be learned from the subtle influences we have on our children and the teaching points we can make in their interests, regardless of what they might be.

Thanks for the thoughtful read!

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 12:32PM SMELTN said

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GREAT article. I can't wait to read more. As a life long gamer and now proud parent of 2 minifigs who love to game, this is great for any parent to read. Gaming is here to stay and we need to understand it and accept it, instead of blocking it.

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 12:45PM Sonoran said

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This is a great article and a wonderful idea for an ongoing column. I find that sharing the MMO experience (Lotro) with my daughter has been a lot of fun. We haven't been able to be on at the same time yet, but she's already talking about how cool it will be when we can group.

There's a lot to be said for being involved and protective in games, but there's also a lot to be said about the potential for being in an environment where a child and parent have fun solving problems and supporting each other through an imaginary quest.

It's an environment that has as much or more positive potential to deliver to your relationship with your child as it is something to protect them from.

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 1:16PM Scopique said

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I'm excited to see Massively taking on this subject! You are now officially the most mature network MMO blog on the Internet.

As a long time MMOer, I've tried introducing my 8 year old daughter to the genre through Free Realms, Club Penguin and the like. I've let her create characters in CoH and CO, and she's watched me play other titles like WoW and LotRO.

One thing that I like to do when she plays is to encourage her to tell me stories about what she is getting out of her gaming session. A lot of times she'll be excited to show me what she's doing, which I think allows me to keep an eye on her without her eventually feeling like she's being monitored.

Posted: Oct 2nd 2009 11:35PM (Unverified) said

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Great column and thank you to Massively for sponsoring it.

My parents were fairly restrictive when it came to computer access as I was growing, especially by the standards of the mid-nineties. One of the techniques they used, and that you note, was to locate the computer in a common space - the kitchen. I think this is crucial, especially for younger children, as it both allows for more natural supervision while also engendering the expectation that what one does on the computer is the sort of thing one would be fine with one's parents seeing. I only started exploring the seedier and deviant sides of the internet, sometimes facilitated by online games, when I had access to a computer in my own room. Even if a child isn't looking for trouble in online games, the accessibility of a computer in one's room might breed carelessness that the aura of supervision would militate against.

Looking forward to future pieces. Perhaps you could interview John Davison at whattheyplay.com.

Posted: Oct 3rd 2009 10:33AM Shazzie said

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I'm female, 36 years old, and not a mother. Neither my husband nor I have ever been interested in having children. But I will enjoy reading this series, because gaming has been a big part of my life since I discovered it, and I wish I'd had the things available today for me when I was young. So I suppose it's a vicarious pleasure, in a backwards fashion.

I'm mostly responding here to mention: There's a post on the City of Heroes General Discussion forum that has been ongoing for well over a year now, "What my six year old has learned from CoX". A man writing about his daughter (who began playing CoX at 4 years old) and what's come of it over the years. Fantastic post, and a pleasure to read. At age 8, she decided to create a story arc via CoX's Mission Architect, and he helped her create it, and it's a very popular arc. It may be interesting to those following this, so I just wanted to pass it on.

Posted: Oct 3rd 2009 2:28PM (Unverified) said

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I certainly will look for that thread. Thanks for pointing it out!
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Posted: Oct 3rd 2009 10:35AM Evy said

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Great column! I don't have children, but I still enjoyed reading it. Someday I might have a little gamer of my own. ;)

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