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Posts with tag child

The parent's guide to video gaming for kids

The parent's guide to video gaming for kids DNP
If there's one thing concerned parents of young video gamers need to know, it's how important it is to acknowledge and support kids' love of games. Why an increasingly media-savvy culture continues to vilify gaming -- now a mainstream activity enjoyed on smartphones, tablets, and computers by Americans of all ages -- is somewhat confounding. Video games represent nothing more (or less) than another type of entertainment media, right alongside books, movies, and television. Just as responsible parents keep an eye on the books, TV shows, and movies their kids are into, they should do the same with games. The bottom line: a reasonable, age-appropriate approach to the quantity and quality of the media kids enjoy.

As the parent of a young gamer, your strategy is to remain figuratively plugged in to whatever they're doing. Don't all parents want to support their kids' hobbies? We want to know what they're doing, who they're with, whether they're safe, whether they're taking away some sort of life skill as well as enjoying some good, old-fashioned fun ...

What you might not have considered is that gaming for many kids represents a full-fledged hobby. What's your role as a parent, then? To be fair, you'll want to give your child's fascination with gaming the same level of scrutiny and support as you would the your little girl's love affair with karate or your teenaged son's involvement in a garage band. Whatever captivates your child's imagination should also attract your parental periscope.

We're not suggesting you plunk down to dutifully monitor your child's every mouse click in a game like World of Warcraft. Frankly, your kids don't want or need a hall monitor. But they do need your boundaries, your guidance, your feedback, your enthusiasm, and your support -- all the same things you'd bring to their karate competitions or their band concerts.

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Filed under: Drama Mamas

My first WoW reader is by the Daily Blink

My first WoW reader is by the Daily Blink
I'll let you in on a secret: I have a daughter. She's nearly 6 months old and it's only by raw, sheer, unadulterated force of will that every one of my posts on WoW Insider isn't "Look how squishy she is!"

I read to her frequently. And while I'm not necessarily proud of it, River's enjoyed more than a few of the collected works of Chris Metzen. And while the crew at Blizzard spin a heck of a tale, relatively few Azerothian quests really make for great baby reading material.

The crack team at The Daily Blink have rescued me with When I Level Up. With a wry and wonderful sense of humor, When I Level Up is the WoW-themed reader I've been craving. Praising virtue, good spirits, and the inexorable spirit of a child growing up in Azeroth, When I Level Up is truly a treat for the whole family. To The Daily Blink, I tip my hat -- and my Squishy -- to you.

Make sure to go read When I Level Up at The Daily Blink.

Breakfast Topic: Do your kids play WoW with you?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

My 10-year-old son is quickly becoming a World of Warcraft junkie (can't imagine where he gets that from ...). He has two characters, a gnome mage and a tauren warrior. He hasn't managed to level either of them past 13, but that doesn't bother him in the least. He runs from capital to capital, fishing, riding the zeppelin or Deeprun Tram, hooking up with whichever relative is "lucky" enough to be on at that moment and even occasionally completing a quest. My brother, brave fellow that he is, actually took my son for a run through Ragefire Chasm. I still haven't heard the end of that. I confess to sometimes using his WoW obsession for nefarious purposes -- it makes a great reward for chores or homework well done!

If you have kids, do you let them play WoW? What types of characters do they play? Do you find it necessary to take any precautions? What limits do you set? Whether you do or you don't, what is your reasoning behind it? Are you concerned that they might fall in with a "rough crowd?" Do you love the idea of teaming up with your kiddo to take on Erudax? Are your kids in your guild? Chime in, all you WoW parents out there!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Drama Mamas: The case of the underage scammer

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

It's always more interesting when Lisa and I disagree. This week is very interesting. Let's get right to it.
So... Here's my story. The first part is probably pretty typical, but it's what I did in response that I'm conflicted about. I feel I could use the advice of someone who understands WoW.

I saw somebody advertising in trade that he was selling the ruby shades for 500g. I'm not sure why I thought even for a second that it might be real; even on a low-pop server, that's two orders of magnitude low. But I did, so I arranged to meet with the "seller". He expressed some hesitation about the 500g price and we negotiated a higher price - none of which turned out to matter, since it quickly became clear that he did not have the shades at all. At one point he put an item with the same icon as the shades (yes, I have seen the real ones) into the trade box.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Breakfast Topic: Do you let your own children play WoW?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

I suppose that I was destined to play computer games. My dad played strategy board games with his friends into the wee hours of the morning until my mom demanded use of her kitchen table back. Eventually, he, my brother and I discovered Age of Empires II. We played online on dial-up internet, cursing the people who called our house while we were gaming. Some friends clued me into WoW in high school, and I've been hooked ever since.

My parents were always cautious with my internet exposure. When I played AoE, I understood that I was not to repeat the foul language I saw in chat, and if people were being particularly vulgar, I would voluntarily remove myself from that particular game. Even as an adult in WoW, I often /leave trade, especially late at night, because I have no interest in seeing keyboard sewage on my screen. Moreover, when I'm visiting my parents and let my younger sisters play on their gnomes, the first thing that I do is /leave trade, and I or someone else keep an eye on the screen while they're playing.

I fully expect that one day, my own children will play video games if they so desire. However, I am aware that the internet is an adult world. Some parents blame other players when their child sees something adult while playing WoW. I tend to take the other approach and blame the parent, either for not closely monitoring their child's play or for not teaching their child how to avoid the adult content.

What has been your experience? How do you monitor the game play of your own children, and do you have any tips for keeping the potentially harmful aspects of the WoW atmosphere away from your child?

Do you let your own children play WoW?
Yes.1729 (32.9%)
No.1084 (20.6%)
Yes, with age-appropriate monitoring and restrictions.2439 (46.4%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

BlizzCon 2010: The view from fourth grade

There sure are a lot of blood elf women at BlizzCon. Anywhere you look, it seems, you'll spot a pair of pointed ears knifing through the crowd, which inevitably widens as eager fans stop to focus their lenses on vast expanses of uncovered blood elf skin. The blood elf population, of course, isn't nearly as high as the veritable legions of black T-shirted men, nor the masses of brunettes sporting red or blue streaks. Those stylings have practically become an official entry badge for BlizzCon 2010.

What you won't find at BlizzCon, though, are kids. Blizzard has set a minimum age of 5 to attend the event, but most parents opt to leave even older kids at home. It's a pretty logical decision; $150 is a pretty steep price to pay for a child who doesn't have the patience for long programs, the endurance for long lines or the interest in ancillary things like hardware booths. Most of the few kids WoW Insider has spotted at the con have been traipsing dutifully along behind their parents, noses plastered to their Nintendo DSes or cell phone games. They're not the true WoW fans of the family -- and it shows.

Not young Ethan, who plays a just-under-level-cap death knight and is a fourth-grader from Torrance, California. Ethan's attending BlizzCon with his dad this year and loving every moment of it.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Are children welcome in your guild?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to our pages.

Children are so much fun and a joy to have around, right? Maybe that's true in real life (at least for a lot of people), but in a guild setting in World of Warcraft, children present some difficult situations. I've been the "guild mom" for two guilds with child members (one who is between the ages of 8 and 15), so I've had a lot of experience.

We all have seen children in a guild. Many beg or ask for gold. They want to be run through instances or helped to level. They ask silly questions. And their reading levels may not be high enough for them to follow the quest text. Guild chat may be filled with: "Can someone help me level?" "Can I have some gold?" "Are we there yet?" And everyone has to watch what is said in guild chat.

Helping children to become strong guild members requires a commitment of time from other members. Some guilds do not want to give that time, so they say "adults only." Other guilds welcome children and work through the problems. All this requires some planning, some commitment of time and lots of patience. The good news is that as time goes on, children mature, and they may become a core of solid members for the future who know how to pass on the lessons they learned to the next generation.

Are children welcomed and helped in your guild? Does your guild restrict membership to adults only? Are children allowed, but everyone hates it when they are online?

Filed under: Guilds, Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

WoW, Casually: Playing with your reading-age child

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Since I last wrote about playing with preschoolers, I have been having an extremely rewarding time playing Itchee with The Spawn. The benefits to both of us are even greater than I originally wrote about. I find that my Itchee time is making me appreciate all of my WoW time even more. Nurturing my child while enjoying my limited playtime is a win-win situation.

It's particularly nice to have this indoor activity to do together with the nasty heatwave we are having in the real world. And that leads me to something I want to address before we get into the guide for playing with reading-age children:

These guides are for parents who have made the educated decision to include WoW as one of the indoor activities to participate in with their children.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Playing with your preschooler

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

In the comments for Drama Mamas, Orkchop asked about tips for playing WoW with his 3 year old daughter. Since, as he put it, this is more of a Mama question than a drama question and I also have a 3 year old daughter, I thought I'd create a guide for playing WoW with preschoolers. Parents have limited playtime due to their family priorities -- not necessarily because they don't want to play as much as the more hardcore players. So mixing parental duties and leisure time is efficient as well as rewarding.

The question some of you may ask is, "Should children that young play video games?" And the answer is not just "yes", but "Yes!" At the beginning of this year, I spent some time working with getting my daughter comfortable with the computer, concentrating on mouse manipulation and keyboard movement while playing many of the free preschool-age video games out there. Within a week, she was reading words like "Play" and "Skip" and navigating through Nick Jr.'s site to her favorite radio station, which she listens to while playing with her toys. The freely available games on sites like PBS Kids have really improved many of her developmental skill sets and her computer skills are now better than most of her grandparents'. Of course, now I'm having to closely monitor her computing time, lest I be subjected to fart videos from YouTube... again.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

Heroic 3-year old arises to save Azeroth [Updated]

juBBjuBB is the proud father of one very charismatic girl who, aside from being absolutely adorable, is also able to play WoW! As he says in his forum post "YOU may have been GANKED by our 3yr old!", Charisma was captivated with her parents gaming activities and started out playing WoW at 1 and a half years old, doing very basic things like running and jumping and chasing bunnies, but since then has actually gotten the hang of some of the basic mechanics of the game. She has learned that you don't want that green bar to get empty or you'll "fall down," as well as the fact that the alliance ("blue") is good and the ugly ones ("red") are bad -- or enemies in PvP anyway. She knows to cap a flag and grind her way up in levels, too apparently.

Some people who read this story cry foul. How can a 3 year-old level to 20 "by herself" (as her myspace page claims) without being able to read? Also, it certainly does seem a bit much to say that she can "gank" people. I also doubt that she can play at the same level as, say, the proverbial 12 year-old WoW player could. My bet is that when the father says "level to 20 by herself" he probably means "without doing any quests and with me watching and talking her through things." And when he says "gank," he means "overpower a level 30ish opponent with a level 60ish rogue alt of her parents using very basic play tactics," which, hello gankers everywhere, even a 3 year-old can do by pressing just a few buttons! Good for her, I say, but shame on anyone over 9.

But I digress. Playing three to four hours per week maxiumum, juBBjuBB says, is helping Charisma get excited to learn the alphabet and cooperative teamplay. Fatherly love and pride in such progress may be leading him to exaggerate a little bit about her gameplay skill, or maybe leave certain details about it to our own common sense -- but can you blame him? If I had a little kid who showed a strong aptitude in any area, from computers to cartoons, I might need to rein in my superlative praise too. She may or may not be the one heroine destined to be the best gamer in the world, but she's the pride of her father's life, and in his Azerothian sky there's no star shining brighter than her.

Update: More from Charisma's father after the jump! You may find it hard to believe...

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Filed under: Fan stuff, PvP, Humor

Child of the Elements

I finally finished the children's week quests on the alliance side, after being quite busy for most of the last week. It's interesting to note how different the draenei girl is from the blood elf that Elizabeth covered earlier. Far from a girl seeming fated to grow up to be a evil-doer of some kind, young Dornaa seems to be a child destined to be a kind and powerful shaman, deeply in touch with the elements.

The Exodar's resident Naaru, named O'ros, seems very impressed with her and asks you to have her visit Farseer Nobundo, leader of draenei shamanism, upstairs. She and the Farseer have already met in a dream, apparently! Nobundo is astounded that the child should have such a natural connection to the elements, and says he will petition for her to stay in the Exodar and train under him after you return her to the orphanage. At the Caverns of Time, she is approached by the Wardens of Time (and saved by the great dragon Zaladormu) just like the blood elf orphan, but the feeling of this is quite different in her context, especially since she wants to befriend a dragon someday, not own one like the blood elf. It seems to me as if a great responsibility rests on her at some time in the future, not some great and evil destiny.

Does the difference between the Horde and Alliance orphans reinforce the thinking that the Horde really is generally evil (with a few who are good) while the Alliance is generally good (with a few who are evil)? Is that the balance we like? Does Blizzard need to provide more kind hordies and wicked allies?

(By the way, if you haven't yet done the Children's Week quests, today [the 29th] is the last day already too late. It seems that Blizzard has once again posted one time on the calendar but gone ahead and cut it off early. Personally, it irks me when this sort of thing happens for no reason -- product delays I can understand, but cutting off a fun event before you promised you would? Grrrr!)

Filed under: Patches, Events, Draenei

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