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Posts with tag teenagers

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

Officers' Quarters: How to earn respect as a teen officer

Teen prince Anduin Wrynn in Stormwind
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available from No Starch Press.

Teenagers as a whole have a terrible reputation in online games. In WoW, they are blamed for everything that's wrong with the community. People say they have no patience, they don't know how to play the game, they ruin chat channels with mindless chatter, and they're selfish, whiny, lazy, disrespectful, and entitled. Certainly some of the people who fit these accusations are teenagers.

However, not every teenager acts this way, and a good portion of the people who do are actually adults. On the internet, unfortunately, perceptions tend to win out over reality. This week, a teenaged officer asks how she can earn the respect of her peers.

Hello there Scott-

Our guild currently is going through some major issues at the moment when it comes to who shall be running what when it comes to what is occuring in the guild. ... About a month or two ago, our guild leader ... decided to call it quits for the time being, our guild was going downhill at that time, and people starting to abandon us. We reasonably thought that sooner or later this guild was gonna expire sometime in the future, and that nothing could stop it.

However, it came to the point where some of our officers and such managed to pull back the guild together through emails and messages spread across multiple medias. Our guild, in my mind, finally has settled back into what it was before, however without the guild leader to guide us. All of us (the officers) decided to take the role of leader. ... Things were going pretty smoothly.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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

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

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

15-year-old collapses after playing Wrath for hours on no sleep or food

Reader Danny sent us this article from Holland Sweden, where apparently (a rough translation of the piece, thanks to Google, is after the break), a young boy of 15 was taken to the hospital after collapsing while playing Wrath of the Lich King. He reportedly had played the game for fifteen hours straight, and because he'd only gotten two hours of sleep and had almost nothing to eat the entire time, felt cramps and apparently collapsed from exhaustion.

Obviously, it's a stretch to blame this on the game -- doing anything for 15 hours straight with no sleep or food won't be good for your health. There were millions of people who played this very same game this weekend (some probably even for the same amount of time or more) and had no problems at all -- they realize that to stay healthy, you take breaks, get sleep, and eat healthy. But this kid (and his parents) didn't do things correctly, and as a result, he ended up in the hospital.

Hopefully the kid's all right, and the parents have learned their lesson: they have decided to limit his time in front of the computer, which is exactly what they should do if he can't limit it himself. The article ends by saying that "teenagers" around the world are playing the new expansion, except that the average age of gamers is now up to just under 30, and the average World of Warcraft player is actually older than that. Fortunately, the vast majority of them know how to enjoy the game and stay safe and healthy at the same time.

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

Gamers on the Street: WoW as child's play


Gamers on the Street logs onto U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.

How young is too young to play WoW? We've discussed the ups and downs of grouping with kids quite a few times over the years, but the topic – like the kids themselves – just won't go away. Earlier this week, we interviewed an 11-year-old SSC raider and his mother. While most reader comments applauded the family for a disciplined, sensible approach to online gaming, a few readers seemed confused or even aghast that someone so young would be allowed to play World of Warcraft.

Gamers on the Street decided to pop in on Bloodscalp, a high-population PvP realm with what one supposes would be a correspondingly tough outlook on kiddie action. We surveyed several level 70 players at random, asking them about their own experiences with children in game. The consensus: Jerks come in all shapes, sizes and ages -- and children and teens are no better or worse than their adult counterparts. Hear out their reasoning, after the break.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Features, Interviews, Gamers on the Street

Officers' Quarters: Drawing the line

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

We often talk about our guilds as if they are families. A family would do anything for each other, wouldn't they? The writer of this week's e-mail asks, When it comes to helping your guildmates with real-life problems, where do you draw the line?

I've been reading your Officers' Quarters column, and I would like your input. I am a longtime (2 years plus) member of an Alliance guild and also a senior officer in a similar-sized Horde guild. In the Alliance guild, one of the members is a teenager who has also been in the guild for a long time. This guildie, along with his father, are well-known in the guild, but the teen is more known for his offensive and insulting behavior in guild chat and in raids. Several members of the guild have left specifically because of this kid. It's also known that he is on medication for behavioral problems. Despite his unpleasant behaviour, he has not been removed from the guild, which has caused a lot of friction.

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Filed under: Guilds, Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

On age discrimination

Fraid is a young player who says that people show discrimination towards teenagers in WoW. He plays maturely and responsibly, so well that most of the time other players are surprised to find out how young he is. Yet he often encounters guild requirements that say one's age must be 21 or higher to join. Is this fair?

In my own experience I've certainly met kids like Fraid who can behave just as well as (if not better than) most of the adults I've encountered in WoW. I've also met players who came across as bragging and became very difficult for me to deal with until a friend said "They're only 12," and I understood. After that, I found it much easier to tolerate the things they were saying as just part of being a teenager rather than some plot to make me feel inadequate. Another time, I went through several 2-vs-2 arena matches in which my friend was strangely quiet, and yet playing very well. Afterwards, my friend explained that it wasn't her at the keyboard, it was her 10-year old friend. This friend isn't very good at typing and talking, but he certainly knows how to play!

Kids can be fantastic players, or lousy ones, just like anyone else you might encounter -- it isn't right to judge them based on age alone. The fair way to deal with kids in WoW is to give them a chance to show their skill, and even to help them improve however you can. If they prove unreasonable, then kick them out the same way you would an unreasonable adult. For those adults who just exclude young people from their activities altogether without giving them a chance, there's no denying it is prejudice -- judging before knowing -- and it often means depriving yourself of some quality talent for your group. Of course, if your guild does some sort of ERP, or other "adult" activities, then by all means, exclude away! But in normal gaming, especially in a casual guild or a PuG, there's really no reason a kid shouldn't be allowed to join unless they've already shown themselves unable to do what's required of them. Anyone who says, "some of these people are not fun to be around, so I'll just exclude the whole lot of them," has some growing up of their own to do.

[Thanks Raegn!]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Forums

Breakfast Topic: No children, please!

I recently overheard someone giving advice on how to avoid guild drama: avoid teenagers. Why? Because nothing loses respect for a guild leader more than their parents kicking them off the computer in the middle of a raid.

It's an interesting point, but I've noticed this sort of age discrimination becoming more prevalent recently. People are happy to tar all WoW's younger players with the same brush -- one experience of an abusive fourteen-year-old in Barrens chat blows up into a strong dislike of all under-18s, resulting in "mature-only" guilds which only take players over 30 (for example).

My experiences, especially of the last few months, have shown me that teenage players can be as mature and responsible as anyone -- perhaps more laid-back than older players who have limited playtime thanks to jobs and other responsibilities. Have you suffered from the common stereotypes of younger players? Do you cringe whenever the words "fourteen-year-old" are used as an insult? Or are you happily entrenched in a mature-only guild without a single curfew in sight?

Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics

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