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Posts with tag children

15 Minutes of Fame: Wasting no time gaming

15 Minutes of Fame is's look at World of Warcraft players 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.

David French is a busy guy. Take a glance over his bio: A graduate of Harvard Law School and David Lipscomb University, French serves as senior counsel and director of the university litigation project for a large non-profit legal organization. He is also a captain in the United States Army Reserve and recently returned from a year-long deployment to Iraq with the 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, where he earned a Bronze Star. The former president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, he also taught at Cornell Law School and served as a partner in a large law firm. He is the author of four books and numerous op-eds. Regularly interviewed by both print and broadcast media, David has a guest on The O'Reilly Factor, ABC World News Tonight, The Fox Report with Shepard Smith, Special Report with Brit Hume, and Your World with Neil Cavuto, among others. He has been profiled in several magazines and appears regularly on dozens of radio programs, including National Public Radio. He is a married father of two.

There's one more thing that David French's bio doesn't mention: He's cleared the first wing of ICC-10 on two toons, ICC-25 on one and still found time to wipe for hours on Festergut. ("Good times.")

This is the story of how (and why) he does it all.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Teen runs away to meet older WoW soulmate [Updated]

Before we delve into this story, I just want to say that everything turned out alright. No Canadian laws were broken. No authority figures taking advantage of underage people in their care. The teenager is home safe and his online lover is allowed to return home whenever she likes. Here are the facts:
  • A 16 year old boy in Ontario had an online affair with a 42 year old mother of four in Texas.
  • They met in WoW, but much of the affair took place in MSN chat.
  • The parents knew of the relationship for over a year.
  • The boy told the woman that he was 20.
  • The consenting age in Ontario, Canada is 16.
  • The boy had a history of addiction to WoW, had seen a counselor and was given computer privileges again as a reward for good behavior.
  • She came to visit him for the Christmas holidays and asked him to meet her in a hotel.
  • He asked his parents for permission. They said no.
  • He snuck out at 2 am and went to her anyway.
  • The parents and local authorities made a plea to the public for his safe return.
  • The boy and woman were spotted together in public two days later and brought in.
  • Again, the boy is home safe and the woman is not being charged with anything in Canada.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items

Breakfast Topic: Are you in a parent-friendly raiding guild?

Recently, I wrote about the raiding as a parent and many of the commenters mentioned that they belong to raiding guilds that are extremely family friendly. These guilds are made up of parents who have similar schedules and little ones who may interrupt at inconvenient times. I knew these guilds existed, but I didn't think they were very common. In fact, I thought they were rare and wonderful things, like playgrounds without graffiti.

It is very important for parents, particularly of small children, to get some child-free leisure time in every day. But you are a parent 24/7, so no time is completely child-free. Most guilds understand when you have to AFK for emergencies and you don't make a habit of it, but few guilds want you to raid with them if your AFKing is more regular. Also, start times for parent-friendly guilds are post-bedtime which is often a couple hours later than guilds with child-free players who eat dinner at their desks while preparing for their raids.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Raiding

Drama Mamas: My GM is a succubus

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

We know, we know: A hot, fresh Succubus managing your every need - in game, in Vent, on the forums ... How's this a problem, again? Unfortunately, we suspect the reader who submitted the headline question this week was thinking of the more traditional type of succubus: the life force-sucking vampires who impose a real-life Curse of Exhaustion on their hapless victims. Yeah, this guy from this week's headline sub-mission (har, har) has got it that bad. The Drama Mamas exorcise his demon, plus explore what to do when you catch a young guildmate indulging in some not-so-pretty behavior, after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Drama Mamas

Breakfast Topic: Do you know where your children are?

Lately, I've been writing a series of articles on playing with your children. First, I talked about playing with preschoolers, like my own daughter, and then about reading age children. Though both articles are about playing with young children and I recommend not letting them play WoW by themselves, many readers complained in the comments that I was encouraging children to run amok in Azeroth. I certainly understand their concerns, because encountering rude and/or needy young ones while playing can really reduce your enjoyment.

The other night, I started a gnome mage and came across a couple of other gnomes while entering the noobie troll cave. We grouped up to get to Grik'nir the Cold and the leader of the group, we'll call him Goodkid asked our ages. I said my ancient age, Goodkid said he was 11 and the other kid, we'll call him Juvie, said "U R GAY UR 44". Now, I'm not completely hip on the cool talk of today, but I think that translates into English as: "Excuse me, but I think you are lying about your age." Juvie then stated he was 10.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics

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

Breakfast Topic: Back from school

We're in the dog days of summer at this point -- the sun is high and hot, the beaches and swimming pools are full, and if you're a kid, the days are long and lazy. Which is probably why we've got all the kids in game lately -- as donnyman notes, when school lets out and summer is underway, the population of Azeroth seems to get much bigger during the day. Some might say that's a good thing: more people playing means more PuGs and more AH buying and selling, while others might say they don't really want more of the younger audience in the game.

I haven't had too much experience with this lately, as most of my gametime is in the evenings and on weekends, so I already see most of the school folks as I play. But I do remember the yearly migration of kids to video games -- I worked at Gamestop for about a year and a half after college, and sure enough, whenever school let out, we had more kids in the store talking about how they'd spent all day yesterday playing online.

So is it a problem for you, or have you even noticed the influx of summer visitors at all? We have to be careful not to generalize here, as while some younger folks can cause issues (either by acting like kids, or just by filling up the instance queues), there are certainly others who act very mature for their age. Some of them, especially with parental supervision, can actually make model players. So the question here is: how have you experienced the sudden rash of schoolkids?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics

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

German Social Affairs minister calls for higher rating on World of Warcraft

Germany is reeling from a shooting rampage committed by a 17-year-old, and as happens in many of these situations, politicians are looking for answers to why a young man would do this to his community. One of the answers they've found so far is videogames. While we don't actually know if the young man played games or not (or what he played), Germany's Minister for Social Affairs Mechthild Ross-Luttmann is calling for a few games, World of Warcraft among them, to be moved up from an age 12+ rating to an adults-only classification.

The tie between the shooter and WoW is slim. But a new study over there says that 50,000 to 60,000 minors could be classified as addicted to videogames. And the combination of the two events is causing Ross-Luttman to call for stronger ratings on "addictive" games like World of Warcraft. It's also interesting to note that in the US, the game is rated T by the ESRB, which actually calls for children 13 and up to play it, one year older than the German standard.

But of course there are two conclusions here. First, every parent needs to take responsibility for what their younger children do: if these kids are addicted, parents need to step in and make sure things get straightened out. As a former employee of a gaming retail store, I can tell you that ratings only go so far. The responsibility has to lie with the parents. And secondly, while Ross-Luttmann is apparently using the shooting to try and push this agenda against addiction, the young man involved in the shooting was experiencing deep depression, and had access to firearms that he probably shouldn't have had. Changing game ratings is fine, but it won't do anything to help when you've got much bigger problems to deal with first.

[via GamePolitics]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items

WoW Rookie: Putting a leash on playtimes for young players

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

When school's out, WoW's in ... Is that the usual state of affairs at your house? If you want to limit the times when your kids can log in – protecting evening study time and bedtime, or setting weekend, holiday and vacation limits – then you need Blizzard's parental control feature. 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.

The parental control is part of the account user interface on the web. Anyone who has access to an account's log-in and password can set up parental controls on the account. Once parental controls have been created, they may be modified only with access via a parental control password.

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Filed under: Tips, Features, WoW Rookie, Account Security

London teacher contacts 14-year-old student through World of Warcraft

This story is really only tangentially related to our game, but we'll mention it anyway: a London teacher has been accused of sending sexually-related text messages to a 14-year-old student that she contacted while they were playing World of Warcraft together. Apparently the woman met up with the student in Azeroth, and then was able to somehow get his phone number from him. Later, the boy's father discovered explicit text messages from her on his son's phone, and she now faces jailtime as a result.

Of course, this says nothing at all about World of Warcraft -- there are man, many ways of communication on the Internet, and the game happens to be just one of them (and shame on the Escapist for even suggesting this is an argument against games in education -- the fault here lies with the teacher, not the game). You should be cautious about who your children are corresponding with no matter where they are or what they're doing, and in fact, this boy's father was.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

The children of Wrath

Starman over at Casual Raid Leader (is that the same Starman that does World of Warcast?) has a great idea. Right around college graduation every year, there's a study that gets nostalgic about what this year's students will never experience -- i.e. since this year's graduates were born in 1986, they've never known a time without Super Mario Bros., and so on. Starman suggests we do the same thing with incoming newbies and the new expansion -- the "children of Wrath" will never know a time when Onyxia was in the Stormwind throne room.

Larisa has a few more: Children of Wrath will never have to go back and do old instances just for the achievement, or have to decide between keeping that noncombat pet or getting the extra bag space back. She was actually a "BC baby," and as she says, she's never tried to run 40 people through Molten Core, or known a time when there weren't any quest chains in Silithus.

What else will the children of Wrath have missed out on? And are there really that many? I imagine that there are still quite a few vanilla players around, and it doesn't surprise me at all that there are plenty of BC babies (I recruited a few people during BC), but how many new players are really coming in to Wrath for the first time? Are there going to be that many people who don't remember when you had to run once instance over and over for rep, rather than just champion it?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Bosses, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Forum post of the day: Where's my big brother

At one point in time Chuck Norris jokes dominated trade chat. Then it was the Murloc game. I'm sure we've all noticed that now it's the anal <insert spell> gibberish that now floods the channel. Dolce of Blackrock believes that it's time the Blizzard begin moderating trade channels during prime time. The chat channel can be turned off, but then it loses utility for valid messages such as selling enchants, transmutes, and well, general trade.

As a parent, Dolce continued his argument:

Wow has a very broad appeal and the average parent would look at the packaging of the World of Warcraft and assume that it is nothing more than a fantasy game where their son or daughter can play with their friends and have "adventures".
The average parent I imagine (and this is merely a broadstroke comment based on the huge playerbase), may not have any sort of familiairity with online games, and even to a certain degree, computers as a whole.
Asking parents (although I am extremely attentive to what my childrens activities are) to have an intimate knowledge of joining and exiting out of city channels is a bit extreme. Perhaps if there were parental controls that you could set ot make this easier...... /wink
In any event I would not be suprised to see some news anchor with some over the top expository on the lewd and profane content that is seen in WoW spun out of context in the near future.
I would say they would be killing a variety of birds with one stone if they simply moderated these popular channels.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

15 Minutes of Fame: Hello Kiddie

15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft Hello Kitty Online players of all shapes and sizes – both the renowned and the relatively anonymous.

Since all the hardcore HKOers are locked up in Hello Kitty Online's closed beta NDA agreement, this week's 15 Minutes of Fame chats with a young MMO player who is anxiously awaiting her turn in the Flower Kingdom. Six-year-old Amillia, a level 23 warrior on Argent Dawn and CakeMania 2 fan, enjoys the occasional hour online under the watchful eye of her mother and big brother -- but longs for the day when she can accept new quests from Hello Kitty herself.

15 Minutes of Fame: So, Amillia, when your days of Cleaving are over, what are you most looking forward to in Hello Kitty Online?
Amillia: Oooh, making my room. It just sounds so great! I want to do harvesting and go in other people's places and stores. None of my friends play World of Warcraft, but I hope that their moms will let them get Hello Kitty Online so we can play together. I hope my character looks just like me -- or maybe a little sweet kitty. I want a pink bow in my hair with flowers on it.

Did you apply to the HKO beta?
I wanted to, but we didn't have time to do the video thing, so we couldn't. We decided to wait for the game.

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Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

What's your guild's age spread?

One of my favorite WoW podcasts(besides our very own, of course) is Casually Hardcore from WoW Radio. They're a very fun bunch and they cover the topic of age fairly often in their fan mail.

I realize a lot of young people play WoW, but I haven't had much direct experience with the really young crowd. As far as I know, I've only played with someone under 16 a couple of times since late 2004. I'm 21 now, and I'm actually the third youngest person in my guild, and there's only a few others younger than I am in our entire guild alliance. We probably just fall short of 200 people across all of the guilds, so the idea of people so young playing WoW is actually quite strange to me. I see parents saying "AFK, my daughter needs me" more often than kids or teens saying "sorry guys, I have school in the morning."

While there are definitely mature younger people playing WoW(I like to think that I was/am one... maybe) but I haven't honestly had much experience with the younger crowd at all. I'm willing to bet money that my guild's average age is somewhere in the high 20s. What about you guys, willing to take a guess? Is your guild younger? Older? A mix of all sorts?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends

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