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Posts with tag children

10 things I learned from playing WoW with my 7 year old

10 things I learned from playing WoW with my 7 year old
I took advantage of one of the many Blizzard sales to get The Spawn's account up to date through Cataclysm a few months ago. We made a pandaren duo together and played through the Wandering Isle, choosing Horde, my faction of choice. This is the first time playing together when she's been able to read the quests without my help, so she's a real partner instead of a tagalong. The experience has been illuminating.

The title of this article is kind of misleading, because some of these things I already knew, but "10 things playing with my daughter illuminated for me but I already knew, they just weren't at the forefront of my mind" is a bit unwieldy. Regardless, here they are:

  1. Sprites are scary. Anne Stickney had pointed this out before, but I didn't really get it until playing with The Spawn. After being swarmed by them and dying, I had to play her character in order to get her through a particular questline. It's all OK now. No nightmares. It could have turned into another Raving Rabbids incident -- she still fears them in her sleep. That was a big video game fail on my part. (It's the screaming.)

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

How 5 minutes AFK cost one WoW player 476,000 gold

How 5 minutes AFK cost one WoW player 476,000 gold
We've all been there: leaving World of Warcraft running on our computers while we've run off to grab a soda or take a bio break. However, most of us return to find our characters safe and sound just as we left them. Not so for WoW-player 1104, who returned to his desk to find that most of his 476,000 gold was missing in action. The culprit? His 6-year-old son, who went on a pet shopping spree, picking up the rarest -- and priciest -- pets on the auction house.

It could have been worse, of course: clearing out gold isn't nearly as bad as clearing out a real life bank account, as kids have done accidentally with in-app purchases in mobile games. But still, getting half-way to the gold cap is nothing to sneeze at -- it represents a lot of time and effort, if nothing else.

So what's a WoW-playing parent to do? 1104 couldn't really blame his son, but does think this might be a sign that it's time to walk away from WoW. On the flip side, he could also take up pet collecting: he's bound to be off to a great start!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

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

5 chat safety tips for young players

5 chat safety tips for young players
It's winter break. The Spawn is seven years old and home for three weeks. She wants to go swimming, have playdates, check out books from the library, play Zelda Windwaker, and collect pets in World of Warcraft. The first four are easy -- there are already safety nets in place. But now I have to get her WoW account safe for little, reading eyes.

  1. Get the Bunny Censor add-on. I'm going to do other things to protect her from chat, but just in case anything gets through, it's hard to be traumatized by "Bunny you!"
  2. Have the talk. Don't talk to anyone. Don't join groups. Be considerate. See Penny Arcade for an excellent depiction of what we parents have to go through in this day and age.
  3. Leave all public chat, especially Trade and General. The command is /leave and then the channel number. So to leave trade chat for most people, type /leave 2.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Blizzard releases parental control video

Parental controls are of paramount importance in games such as WoW, which appeal to a wide audience of young and old, and are sufficiently immersive to permit lengthy sessions. Blizzard has long advocated responsible gaming, and WoW Insider is no different. To this end, Blizzard has released a video clearly and carefully laying out all the Parental Control options available to the WoW-playing family.

These include:
  • Limited hours' play per day or per week
  • Scheduled playtimes and preset schedules
  • Limiting of the use of RealID and in-game voice chat
  • Preventing use of Diablo III's Real Money Auction House
  • Automatically generated weekly playtime reports.
These features may be useful for more than just parents. Students wishing to ensure they aren't distracted by WoW could have their own parents set up controls for them, or players who wish to limit themselves for any other reason could do the same. Additionally, any player might appreciate weekly reports of their playtime!

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: News items

Breakfast Topic: How do you adapt WoW for younger players?

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

Since she was really little, my eldest cousin has been fascinated by WoW. Whenever she came over, she would watch me play. I would dutifully run around, maybe do some dailies or professions, and she would be absolutely spellbound. I couldn't wait until she was old enough to play with me.

Recently, she turned 11. She had progressed to leveling a character on my account, a hunter, and was surprisingly adept considering I flaked on turning on newbie hints. So I bought the games for her and started lobbying my aunt and uncle to let her play with me. Her parents were understandably concerned about online safety. They aren't familiar with WoW except through me, and there are a lot of safety issues with letting your kid play an interactive game online -- not to mention the $15 monthly fee!

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

How do you balance game and family?

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

No matter your walk of life, we all have time management challenges. Within that spectrum, there are the most fortunate who have personal assistants to manage their next nose hair removal appointment, to those dealing with significant life-and-death issues that none of us would ever want to contemplate. However, within the WoW community, there is a sizeable portion of us who are full-time working parents. Gone are my early college days (early '90s, egad!) when I used to slack off and play MUDs (Valhalla, anyone?) all night long without a care in the world ... I could always blow off a class or two and still pass.

With kids, it's a completely different ballgame. Not only do young children demand your attention after you get home from a long day at work, it's your responsibility to spend quality time with them. Make them a healthy dinner, read books with them, play games, go outside for a walk, give them a bath, watch a ballgame with them. These are precious moments that I savor. However, this added responsibility can add a lot of stress. It's therapeutic to expunge it when we actually have a free moment. Gaming is one of my releases. I feel fortunate that I can actually squeeze in two raiding nights a week, but that's it for me. With raiding, there is a schedule that my wife and family are comfortable with. It's how I choose to prioritize my WoW goals. I can't run heroics. Dailies, yeah, right -- it's either bath time, a tee ball game, or we need to rush our toddler to the doctor because his diaper is full of purple poo. Stay out of the purple poo, BTW.

As a parent, how do you prioritize in-game goals?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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

15 Minutes of Fame: WoW buoys autistic youngster

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft personalities of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, from the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Should little kids play World of Warcraft? Players and non-players, parents and childless alike seem to relish pontificating. Ultimately, it all comes down to active parenting -- you have to judge whether your child's development and personality are suited for a dunk in the waters of a massively multiplayer world, and you have to stay plugged in, yourself.

For WoW player Tsiva, mother of an 8-year-old with Asperger Syndrome, the decision to bring her son into the game has paid off. "It's helped with his reading, counting, confidence, motor skills and it's provided him with a heck of an incentive to work hard outside of the game," she reports. Tsiva's been blogging since last summer about her son's adventures in Azeroth, in the hopes that their experience will enlighten other players and spread awareness of the ways playing games like World of Warcraft can be a positive force for many children, including those with disabilities.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

WoW, Casually: Playing WoW with your teen

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.

Last year, I talked about playing with preschoolers and reading-age children. Several months later, I'd like to continue the series by tackling the topic of teens. I'm now tempted to talk in tantalizing alliteration, but I really can't keep it up. Anyway...

Teens provide a completely different challenge than the young children we've discussed before. Teens are already extremely competent readers, experience Trade Chat-like talk in school on a regular basis and have the coordination skills required to fully play the game. So they don't need the coddling and constant supervision, but that doesn't mean that the benefits of parents playing with teens aren't just as valuable.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

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