Kids and MMOs
I've been working with Qwest lately as part of their online safety program (www.IncredibleInternet.com). They brought me on board to talk to parents, teachers, high-school students, government officials, and law-enforcement officials in local communities about online games--both the potential benefits and the risks. So this has gotten me to think a lot more about key messages to tell people who want to know more about kids and MMOs. As a part of this, I created a survey targeted at MMO players who were themselves parents.
I thought that this would be an interesting group to survey because they have to balance their own understanding of online gaming with their roles as parents and guardians. It's easy for non-gaming parents to overstate the downside of games just as it is easy for gamers without children to understate it. So parents who themselves play online games offer a unique perspective on the issue of potential benefits and risks. And their own strategies in terms of online gaming access for their children would certainly be interesting to explore.
Altogether, 314 online gamers who were also parents (specifically those that had at least one child under the age of 18) responded to the survey. There are three parts to this article. We'll first look at the main risks that respondents associated with online games and their assessment of the amount of risk. Then we'll look at the main benefits respondents associated with online games and their assessment of the amount of benefit. Finally, we'll turn to a collection of advice that these parents gave in terms of managing their children's online gaming access.
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