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Reader Comments (11)

Posted: Oct 9th 2009 12:21PM Tom in VA said

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Another good article in this series. Thanks for posting it.

I'd like to see MMOs offer "kidsafe servers", wherein chat is limited to standard emotes, etc., and in which there is therefore no way for kids to inadvertently divulge personal information and/or hear abusive or crude chat or whispers.

It seems like it wouldn't be that difficult for WoW, for example, to offer one or two servers that were structured restrictively like that -- rather than leaving parents to adjust a wide range or settings and enforce rules of conduct.

In fact, that's the kind of server I myself would prefer, frankly, but certainly it would be better for my kids.

Posted: Oct 9th 2009 12:44PM Wisdomandlore said

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"Turn off chat channels completely, especially zone-wide public channels with a reputation for wild chatter. Activate language/profanity filters. Disable voice chat features, and don't use applications such as TeamSpeak and Ventrilo. Other interactions you might consider blocking include whispers/tells, group invitations, guild membership invitations and player-to-player trades."

This is just silly. If your child is so young that they can't handle any of this, then don't even let them play the game by themselves. What's the point of playing a MMO when you take away everything that makes it an MMO? It's like going to the playground and saying, "Have fun...but don't use the slides, swings, monkey bars, or the sandbox!" Instead, let them play with you until their old enough to understand these things.

Meanwhile, give them a single-player RPG. The gameplay is going to be vastly better, and depending on the game they'll learn valuable skills like puzzle-solving or storytelling that the grind of a MMO won't give them.

Posted: Oct 9th 2009 2:20PM Nef said

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Honestly, I don't think you'll have to worry too much about what your child sees/hears on the internet -- they'll get it from their peers. I got to know *way* more then my young nephews do now, before heavy use of the internet and online gaming, through friends at school and on sports teams.

What I do look out for are viruses and personal info -- they don't know a phishing scam yet so they stand a high risk of getting caught in one. Still, simple enough rule that they don't give out anything without permission.

Over-protection can be as harmful as no protection, just keep a balance and expect your kids to learn about 'mature' things at some point. Likely earlier than later.

Posted: Oct 9th 2009 3:00PM (Unverified) said

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I personally also disagree with the idea of turning off chat channels in the MMO gaming.

Disabling communication in a Multi-Player just completely defeats the purpose of the game. Many MMO's are setup so that later content requires group effort and coordinated team tactics. The whole purpose of an MMO is that it is "Massively Multiplayer" and dependent on your interaction with other players in the game.

If you don't want to play a game with other people, then don't. On a personal note if I see a player in a game who is doing something (this happens a lot in WoW) and for some reason does not respond to at least a "hello," I assume they are either a gold spammer who is mindlessly grinding, an automated bot or a self-centered jerk and treat them as such.

Posted: Oct 9th 2009 5:22PM Graill440 said

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An excellent article.

Todays kids are as devious as the most practiced spy, taught by other kids that have no guidance (we call it lack of parenting) They will lie, cheat and do whatever to get their game or chat fix.

Parents must be parents and trying to be a buddy or friend to your child first is a nogo. Your a parent first, responsible for the safety, health and welfare of that child, you can be their friend and buddy later on after they know right from wrong and arent acting like little animals. Laying ground rules on games and study and social life is a must if children are to learn responsibility and not end up acting like their parents, that is to be their own person, improving on what those parents taught them and making society better.

A parent will do the hard right thing over the easy compromise everytime, sadly a good number of parents shouldnt be parents because they are as immature and naive as their children.

Posted: Oct 9th 2009 8:22PM Dblade said

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I think a problem with general chat channels is we forget how easy it is for some seriously not child-safe dialogue to get on and stay on general chat. If players had more self-moderation, leaving general chat on would be safe, but all it takes is a few immature players arguing or spewing profanities to make a parent worry about the impact on their 6 year old.

I do agree with the dissent though, to truly be safe you have to disable a lot of the communication tools of the game. Although I think the log issue is overreacting, no employer is going to be able to link your child's character in an MMO to a real life persona unless they share personal information they shouldn't.

A lot of the stuff though seems to me to make kid-safing an MMO more work than benefit. Vetting their guild, monitoring them to make sure they arent downloading mods, or using hacks to break the ToS, and shepherding them through every player interaction makes me think you'd have more fun playing a co-op offline diablo-style game instead.

Posted: Oct 10th 2009 9:40AM (Unverified) said

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Watch out for the pedobear!

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Posted: Oct 10th 2009 3:34PM (Unverified) said

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As a teenager myself, I find articles like this frustrating. The general consensus' of adults, in my opinion, is that teenagers and children cannot be trusted to play on or use the interent without someone looking over their shoulder.

My parents have never, ever tried to supervise me in my online gameplay. I personally would never even dream of spamming general chat with nonsense, or acting like an idiot. True - I consider myself to be much more mature than others around my age, and I know that some people do need supervison to keep them in line and out of trouble online, but please understand that we are not all 'chatty-twelve-year olds'.

Posted: Oct 11th 2009 9:29AM Hackjob said

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Someone needs to save that kid from his barber...

Posted: Oct 13th 2009 12:14PM (Unverified) said

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thank you finally someone said it!!

also props for using irascible...
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Posted: Oct 14th 2009 2:40PM (Unverified) said

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I also cover some of this in my new book, check it out at www.guardingkids.com along with lots of other free resources and links.

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