Current Issue: Vol. 7-1 (03/09/2009)



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Kids and MMOs

Advice from Parents

When asked what advice they might give other parents in terms of managing the risks involved in playing online games, a fairly consistent set of guidelines emerged.

Set Limits and Expectations

Many parents talked about setting expectations early and sticking to them. And whether these are limits to time use, who they can chat with online, or who they can group with, it helps to figure out what tools the game provides that can help maintain these expectations (e.g., WoW's time control tools, or turning off general chat).

Starting children with limits from the very first time they play is going to be a lot easier to maintain than waiting until you perceive a problem and then suddenly trying to cut back on their playing. And don't think that just because your children like something, or all their friends do it, means you have to let them do it! [F, 37]

Make it very matter of fact. After a preset amount of time the MMO goes off and the real world goes on. Period. And enforce it, even though it may get unpleasant. [F, 27]

Keep an Eye on Them

Equally important was keeping tabs on their experiences and social interactions in these environments.

Talk to you child about the game, with a special emphasis on their social interaction. In short, know what is going on. [M, 29]

Be adamant about being able to read their screens, or loose the priviledge to be on the computer at all. [M, 33]

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