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A parent's guide to World of Warcraft for kids

Is WoW appropriate for children? While we're sure the inevitable trolls out there are already clicking straight to the comments to revile the very idea of allowing children into Azeroth, the fact is that with preparation and consistent parent moderation, WoW can be a fine fit for kids -- especially for families with parents who already spend time in Azeroth. It's definitely one of those cases in which your mileage may vary; parents who don't already play or who take a more hands-off approach to gaming will probably want to wait until their little goblins- or worgen-to-be are well into their teen years.

For players whose kids are itching to join in the family fun, though, there are plenty of ways to make World of Warcraft a productive, happy experience for kids, parents, and fellow players alike. Here's the thing: There's more to think about and more ways to throttle age-related issues than simply turning off trade chat and forbidding PUGs before walking into the other room to watch TV. We'll show you how to find the best fit for WoW with kids, teens, and even parents themselves.

Lay the groundwork

A parents'-eye view of WoW
Although this overview of World of Warcraft was written for non-playing parents, it's a solid reminder of how WoW might look through your child's eyes. We'll help you consider what factors make WoW a good fit (... or not) for kids of different ages, and we'll show you ways to adapt or limit their play so that they (and everyone around them) can have fun.
Log in to your kid's interest in gaming
We're all gamers here, and we know how it feels when non-players minimize our interest in gaming as a hobby. Show your kids the consideration you wish you received from others and respect their enthusiasm for gaming by staying actively involved in what they're playing. No, that doesn't mean simply watching the game over their shoulders, nor does it mean dragging along and holding their hands in game ... Here's how to stay connected and supportive.
The family that groups together ...
Undeniably, the best solution for a gaming family with a youngster who's burning to join in the fun in Azeroth is to play together! However, that doesn't have to mean lassoing yourself into plodding about Stormwind with a preschooler intent on chasing down all the other Stormwind kids. Find the playstyle that fits.
17 internet safety basics for gaming families
No child needs direct supervision to kill 10 rats (or find 20 Noblegarden eggs or bonk four orc peons ...). But young gamers do need basic boundaries and guidance on navigating the very public world of the internet. Start 'em on safe internet practices from the very start with our 17 internet safety basics.

Keep it all on track

Kidproofing an MMO
There are a number of ways to create a safe sandbox within World of Warcraft for younger children to play in. We'll show you the best methods of keeping the social pressures and factors young kids aren't ready for yet at bay.
Mind your massively multiplayer manners
Don't leave your kids' online social education up to the unwashed masses of the internet. Start them off right with practical advice on social interaction on the internet, building good manners that will serve them through a childhood of gaming and into their professional lives.
Does video game violence provoke aggression in kids?
Won't killing things in Azeroth inevitably lead your child to aggression? Sensible parents have long recognized that the way kids react to video game violence varies according to their personalities. Now research backs those views.
What exactly is a "family-friendly" guild?
Being "family-friendly" is definitely not the same thing as being "kid-friendly" -- and so-called family-friendly guilds are sometimes as blatantly inappropriate for young players as the booziest college conglomerates. We'll show you when the family-friendly label isn't necessarily the best pick for your young WoW players.

Help kids strike a balance

The 10-step back-to-school gaming tuneup
School comes first -- that's a given. Mixing gaming with school comes down to context, and your role is less about laying down rules than it is helping children put one into context with the other.
Screening screen time
The question isn't so much how much screen time to give your little gamers, but more whether or not instituting screen time limits is the right strategy for your family in the first place.
Is your teen ready for MMO raiding?
Raiding represents a big commitment for your teen, and time management skills are a must. We have tips on finding the right guild and the right schedule for a young player, as well as caution signs that let you know whether things may be straying off track.
Teens: How to lobby your parents for more gaming time
Wish your parents would give you more time to play WoW? This article is for you. Here's our game plan for responsible teens on how to convince your parents to allow you more time in Azeroth.
Putting a leash on playtimes for younger players
Parental control settings allow you to choose blocks of time that an account is and is not accessible for play. Players cannot log in during restricted hours, and they'll be automatically logged out if they play past their allowed time window.
How to customize and opt out of Real ID
Because it exposes real names and real email addresses, Real ID throws up all sorts of privacy concerns for young players. Here's how to opt out of the feature.
When enough is enough
Sometimes, it's time to draw the line. Parents almost always know their children best, but sometimes it's hard to recognize danger signs of overinvolvement if they've been creeping up over time. Here are the major yellow lights to watch for.

WoW for parents and partners, too

Finding time to game during the family years
Let's not forget yourself, the WoW-playing parent, in all of this. When do you get a chance to get your own game on? We'll help you pick the right playstyle and set the right expectations so you can enjoy rewarding gaming at every stage of your family's development.
Balancing games with all the rest
Balance, balance, balance – the best thing you can teach your kids (and practice yourself) is how to keep gaming in balance. Try out these tips for gaming kids, gaming parents, and even non-gaming spouses too!

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