Monday, August 21, 2006

Be Alert... (insert tasteless joke here)

"I had an interesting experience this weekend. My
oldest daughter (she’s 9) was playing an online game (not one of ours
and not WoW) and someone asked her how old she was. As I had taught her
she immediately put this person on the ignore list, reported them via
an in-game command and came to me and let me know what had happened.
Since this had happened one previous time in this particular game (with
the exact same response from her) I immediately cancelled the account.
a parent with 4 kids ranging in age from 5 to 11. All 4 of them play
games. I actively game with my son (the 11 year old). My youngest 2
kids (ages 5 and 6) also play games (Disney’s ToonTown which I highly
recommend as a VERY SAFE game)."  Full article and link for feedback

I'm going to ask everyone to go to that link, read it (all of it, twice) and then give Smed some constructive feedback.

My concerns are that he may propose some sort of 'one report bad, two report banned' type of system which, as we all know, will be used as a griefing mechanism by the darlings who play.

Yes, there should be some degree of parental control over what games your kids play and what freedoms they are allowed when ingame and yes they should also be aware that there are some truly wicked people out there and they need to know what to do if an inappropriate approach is made.  But please oh please,  don't over react by training them to /ignore and /report each and every a/s/l enquiry they encounter. ESPECIALLY in any game where there's a social element.

Teach them that, ingame, they should only give out info on the character. Y'know, you're playing a wookiee and someone asks where you're from.... "Kashyyk" obviously.  Age? Well, wooks live a long, long time... , etc.  If, after all that, the person is still pestering for personal info then tell them you don't give out personal info. If they STILL push it, THEN /ig and /rep. And escalate it with a CSR if you can.

Heck, half the fun in online games is finding out where the puppetmasters are really from. I've 'met' folk from all over the world and it's great to learn that way. Gender? Age? Less of a concern as we're in a non-tangible environment and have no way of verifying what they say.  Being aware of when boundaries are being crossed is important tho, so email addies, myspace stuff, depending on context that's suspect.

But jumping like one of Pavlov's dogs as soon as somebody asks what age? Dodgy ground.

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