Thursday, December 24, 2009

Repost: How Online Gaming is Changing Parenting

Pixels and Policy: How Online Gaming is Changing Parenting

Let me say first of all that I'm not a parent.  I haven't gone down that road yet, and have no idea when/if that will happen.  People tell me I'd be a good mom, maybe I would, but not right now.  However, I have been part of a guild full of families for two years.

One of the goals of inSiDiouS is to be a family friendly guild, and has been successful for more than three years.  Swearing and excessive sexual or violent content is not allowed in guild chat.  Generally, our Teamspeak is PG-13.  We don't really advertise as a family friendly guild, Pex likes to say we're "mature".  When people join, I made sure people know the rules up front.  As an officer, one of the things I have to do is remind people not to let things get out of hand.  But there isn't much enforcement because it's guild culture.  People who want to have "freedom of speech" don't stick around.  SDS is a haven from Trade Chat, and nobody gets insulted for not wanting to listen to or participate in crude conversation.

This family friendly policy attracts older, more laid back players and their families.  People in inSiDiouS have lives.  They are Boy Scouts, rugby players, gym nuts, and hard workers.  They have other hobbies, go on hunting trips, and visit their uncles for a month in August.  No one gets upset if someone needs to drop group because they need to take care of something at home.  Most of all, there is good parenting going on.  Yes, it is going on through a keyboard and a headset, but it is there.  There aren't many modern hobbies where a parent and child can both can participate and enjoy.

Does the necessary flexibility hamper progression?  Yes.  Does it matter to the people who make up its core?  No.  Even though I've moved my main to do higher level content, I don't think I'll ever pull my last top level character from the guild.  I feel relaxed and welcome whenever I'm doing stuff with them, and I truly care about the people there.  I need to know that everything is as it should be.

Having families play MMOs together is good for the gaming community, and the increasing number of families with their widely varying demographics are what have carried MMOs like WoW into the mainstream.  I can't wait to see the day when three generations are playing together, and staying together.

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