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Reader Comments (55)

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:05PM Tom L said

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One aspect you are leaving out is that the child may be fascinated by what you are doing. Most gaming happens after my daughter's asleep, and that's certainly true for anything that requires a headset. My daughter, for example, loves my "shouty little hobbit" (warden) and asks for me to go and beat up on orcs or whatever. The adventures of my MMORPG toons becomes a jumping off point for her own play, making up stories using stuff from the game. Her attention usually lasts about 15-20 minutes and then she moves on to other things.

For many of us, MMO's have replaced traditional board games as the basis for our social get-togethers, and more's the pity. But, it is possible to have your kids still get a sense of being involved in your activities. I had a friend who's son would help out while doing 5-mans when we played WoW, casting spells that his dad told him to cast.

It's a complex issue and context is everything.

Ta,

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:11PM eiberri said

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@Tom L

+1

It seems that the context is clear in your case.

From what you've said, your daughter isn't asking for you to help her with her homework or drive her to recital. She's asking you to beat up nasty, filthy, little orcses. More power to you for having a daughter that's interested in the game you play.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:29PM Tom L said

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@eiberri And do you know why that is? Because whether you like it or not as a parent you are programming your child with every action you take, every word you say, ie. 'what's important to you, is important to them.' So, naturally, if I love to play video games, my daughter is going to be inclined to like them as well.

It is the parents' job to understand this and set a good example of the types of behaviour you want your children to deem important. So, if you want the child to value reading, read in front of them.. the same goes with music or art or math.

With recreation like games, therefore, it's important to realize the boundary between it and your responsibilities and be careful what kind of example you're setting.

Ta,
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:15PM Seldra said

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I've raided for a long time and I still do to an extent, and for the most part a lot of the teams I've been in have many family men/women in the roster. The problem really is that there's a few people out there that can't seem to balance their hobby life with their family life. My cousin's husband for example raids with me and he's got 3 children and he's gotten some insane titles on both GW and WoW. It's really all about managing one's time and priorities.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:32PM Grok said

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About 4 years ago my guild was running Black Wing Lair in WoW. We had been at it for about 2 hours when we heard some crying come over the mic in Vent. Someone asked what was going on and one of our guildmates replied "Oh my kid is upset cuz she doesn't have any more birthday presents to open"

There was a moment of silence in Vent as we all let this sink in. Someone finally asked "You've been raiding during your daughter's birthday party?" he confirmed it and we all harangued him for being a terrible parent.

About 2 months later he told us about how he was depressed because his wife and kid had left him and all I could do was shake my head.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:34PM CaseyTheBrash said

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If they didn't roll DKs and could avoid the fire, maybe they would deserve some attention.

But seriously though, this isn't an epidemic. It's obvious you guilded with some grade-a douches but I've never seen this to be an issue. If anything we usually get a running commentary on vent on how big/ugly/on fire the boss is by a five year old. I have toons older than most my friends kid's. And oddly enough a dwarf that shares a name with one...

I know it's hard to find a topic for these weekly things, and it's clear you're deeply concerned about the subject, but the reality of it is you're preaching to nerds on how to raise their kids and injecting a false sense of drama into a topic. These kids would be ignored regardless of the MMO or not. Hell, go to Wal-Mart you can see more of the same daily.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:36PM Tom L said

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@Tempes Magus : The greatest mistake any human can make wrt another is ignoring them. This extends to conversation where one person never acknowledges the other person's perspective (even if you vehemently disagree with it). So, yes, acknowledging the child's request for your attention is important. The speed with which you physically respond to it is a matter of context.

Ta,

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:42PM jhurst747 said

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My wife and I allow our kids playtime with WoW. Because of this, they feel included and absolutely love standing near us when we play and commenting on each and everything we do. My oldest (8 years old) asks many questions and so we always explain things while we play. They love that we include them.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:55PM (Unverified) said

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They're ignoring a great deal of potential here. Kids make great farmers and rep grinders. Sure, occasionally you'll log in to find your character wearing a dress and standing at the bottom of the moat, but that's the price you pay for family togetherness.

I got my kid her own account and we wander around the cities together. She's always finding things that I never noticed.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:28PM Enikuo said

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@(Unverified) That's made me laugh... and so true, from what I've heard anyway :)
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:02PM Thegratefulhead said

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I agree 1000% with author. I have children. The only time I game is after my children go be bed. That is plenty of time for a parent to game. There are plenty of guilds formed by responsible parents who game in every time zone in the evenings. You just have to look. These guilds are also very understanding when you say, “sorry I have log my child just woke up sick”, because they have people in them with similar responsibilities and values. These guilds usually have people on back-up that are ready to go. They might not be at the top of the server progression wise but the maturity of such people make raiding a pleasure. Well worth the lack of server firsts.

They day one of my children ever feels that my computer game is more important than them is the day my computer goes in the trash. Mind you, I have been a guild leader and one of the main raid leaders, with many responsibilities of a large very successful raiding guild in WoW for 4 years. Actually, at many times we have been one of top 10 guilds on a very successful older server raiding just 3 times a week in the evenings. My wife plays as well….I have logged on during the day…you bet. I do things like farm or solo content that I can just walk away from at a moment’s notice. I have actually tried to do a short dungeon from time to time when I thought my children were occupied but if I have to say “sorry got to go” and log I have done it without regret, it is just a game. There is nothing more important than your children, EVER.

The thought that I would need three hours of daddy alone time to raid on a Saturday afternoon because my house looked good and I just spent 6 hours with my kids so now I DESERVE time undisturbed to raid for loot drops or in game glory is unimaginable to me. I can understand how some people can justify getting annoyed at their kids for disturbing them while they are trying to top the dps meters. I think they are just deluding themselves, admitting to yourself you are ignoring your kids for a video game is a tough pill to swallow, so they make crap to justify it by saying they earned it, horse hockey. Your job as a parent is NEVER done no matter how clean your house is or how tough your job is.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:12PM wondersmith said

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A message to those who aren't as far along this road yet: Question traditional values. Sure, everyone's supposed to want to raise a family, but do you really need to add to the population of a planet already overflowing with 7 billion? Search your heart. If you find that gaming is truly your greatest love, then follow your dream, and enjoy the heck out of it. There's no reason you have to have kids and torture them and yourself with these problems.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:18PM Ryn said

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Thanks for taking this one on Shawn. In the past I have struggled with this, at a time when MMO'S were new and shiny to me. I couldn't get enough. The way I got around it was just putting myself in my kids shoes. Replaying what I had said to them in my head, and how would I react to it, how I would feel if I were them. After putting that into perspective, I now know when to pick my times to game and not to.

The cool part is that they are now old enough to be curious about the games I play, and we can do some things in game together.

Games come and go. Guilds, corps, fleets, fellowships come and go. Your kids are here for good. Nothing is worth sacrificing your time with them.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:23PM MewmewGirl said

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My own soapbox -

You have no clue what is really going on with the kids in the background. For all you know the Parent could give the kid attention all day long, be wanting just a few hours worth of a break, and the little attention hungry bugger is in there not wanting to let the parent take that break.

Can't they take a few hours off once and a while too? How about you? You have children and you're on there raiding as well, what's your excuse to not be off giving them attention 24 hours a day? Because it's "for work"? Because you do it when they are asleep? Maybe you should be sleeping when they are, so you can be rested and up to give them attention the next day, instead of gaming away? Or you could be planning something or creating something for them, rather than wasting your time gaming.

Anyway you're right, you're not Dr. Phil, you're the Pot calling the Kettle black :D

You really don't even know the details of what you're complaining about other than a few overheard words in voice chat. That's pretty funny.

I don't have kids so I'm not being defensive from a personal situation, and the truth is I go and play with animals rather than play games most of the time as any real life is more important than gaming, but a few times a week I do like to lose myself in the gaming world. Since I don't have kids, I'm not robbing them of any time like you are :P

This sounds more like your own guilt than what others are actually doing honestly.

I got to stop reading these Soapbox columns - they just seem to annoy me most of the time :D

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:28PM KappoRDM said

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Nice article. Too many people have children without considering what a personal investment is. Your life is no longer yours. This is why I made my mind up as a young man that I never wanted to be a parent. I do not have what it takes to give that much of myself. I am selfish, but I am responsibly selfish.

The same can be said of being in a serious relationship. I am married myself. I found someone who had the same values and similar life goals as I, and we have been successfully married for 7 years. I chose the word "successfully" over "happily", because if you do not have a successful union, will will never be happy. She still puts a smile on my face everyday, so that counts as happy in my book.

We both game together, after our personal and professional responsibilities are tended to. This is just one pass time among other activities we enjoy to do separately and together. Life is all about balance whether you are a parent, in a relationship, or just playing solo.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:51PM WickedAZ said

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Hey little guy...daddy can't get up right now. Be a champ and go grab daddy a beer! :)

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 3:12PM Tom in VA said

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Good essay -- and yet another reason I seldom run dungeons of any kind any longer. My kids are older now, but I find that many MMOs (particularly anything involving group dungeons or raids) are more involved than I'm willing to commit to. I have to be able to stop playing (and start playing again) on a dime, if need be.

It'd sure be nice if MMOs offered instanced, solo versions of dungeons/raids -- for different quests and rewards perhaps.

I can remember taking nearly an entire day to get through the Catacombs of Kathandrax dungeon (Guild Wars, Eye of the North). Happily for me, Guild Wars didn't have respawning mobs, it didn't autolog you off after 30 minutes, and your "teammates" (AI henchmen) would happily wait for you all day if necessary without complaint. I wish other MMOs offered the option to play through group/dungeon content like that. It was very nice as a parent of several kids to be able to stop and start so easily. :-)

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 3:15PM Utakata said

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Being single with no kids has its privileges.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 3:21PM Sethisto said

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This is why I never want kids

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 3:24PM Tyrannicide said

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My hats off to Massively for even writing an article about this subject. The gaming culture gets a lot of flak from others because of certain stereo-types. When in fact I think the vast majority of the gaming masses are responsible, productive members of society. Keep up the good work Massively!

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