Parents: Take Responsibility and Moderate Your Kids on the Computer
While possible all around the world, in America particularly there is an epidemic problem of parents not wanting to parent or discipline their children at all. They expect everyone else to do it. One prime example of this is when I was playing Everquest way back in late 1999 to 2002. I was also a GM for that game (I played on Vazaelle and was a GM on Mith Marr). A headline news incident occurred at that time concerning Everquest. Shawn Woolley, who had a character named "iluvyou", shot himself at the computer over something that happened to his character in the game. The mother, liz, made a remark of ignorance and typical of parents that are ignoring what world(s) their kids are in online: "He was so upset. And then I was trying to talk to him about it, and I said, ‘Well, Shawn, you know, those aren’t people- they’re not real people.’ He was so upset. I mean, he wasn’t angry, he was hurt." Really? So your kid is real but the rest of us aren;t? I understand you are trying to help, lady, but educate yourself about what your kid is involved in or DON’T let him play it – period. Anyway, moving on . . .
The issue there lies with parenting. Liz did not properly educate her child to reality, and did not give him the discipline needed to separate reality from gaming. I happen to spend an average of 6 to 8 hours PER DAY in games, and due to my parents raising me with at least a shred of common sense, I still know it’s just gaming. People troll me, say harsh things, and do the typical things people do in the real world, but more harshly so because they know I can’t hurt them through a bunch of pixels. And they are right. As such I also know they cannot hurt me, either, so I shrug off their immaturity and continue playing with my friends and enjoying my experiences. I keep track of the time, I have prefect attendance at work, I take online instruction to further educate myself in real world skills, I communicate with family and I give my cat attention. Okay my cat DEMANDS attention, LOL, but I do love her. The point is, I am this way because my parents taught me that I must always keep reality in check, and that no hobby or game or anything else should ever take precedence over my real life responsibilities.
Knowing I spend so much time in game you now picture me as some fat guy in a big chair eating piles of food and not dating – just spending all his time on a game. Actually, I also exercise (I weight 150 pounds soaking wet), I have friends, I LOVE to go out regularly, and I have a wonderful fiance who also loves gaming and other hobbies/activities outside of the computer.
However, the judicial system of the United States is actually set up to SUPPORT irresponsibility of parenting. They have carefully planned and executed laws and bylaws to enable most of the political powerhouse, who also have kids, to be lazy and complacent, feeding their fat mouths and living in sloth while everyone else is expected to raise their families for them. This was proven fact when Liz, among other lazy parents, successfully sued Sony Online Entertainment and other MMO companies for their kids’ addictions to their games. one such result of those lawsuits are games such as Guild Wars spamming your chat every hour with "You’ve been playing for x-hours. Please take a break." Really? Do you REALLY think your kids are going to listen to that and just magically get up from their chair and take a break? No. Parents, how about you go into their room and tell them, "Hey, your time is up. Shut off the computer now." Or COOL parents like me look over their shoulder, "Tough fight eh? Hey after you get done with this dungeon it’s time to call it a night. If you need a good healer to make it go faster I’ll join you."
The thing about gaming is that it is just that – gaming. This is not reality. I definitely want to point out another good example of this from an experience a couple of nights ago in the game I currently play: Final Fantasy XIV. This individual, not worth naming (though I logged the name in my list of auto-kicks should I ever see him in a party), had a very typical reaction that represented an all-to-common concern psychologically among undisciplined players. I am a healer by trade, as i am in every game I play. I have always preferred the healer role because it represents my personae – the desire to accomplish my goals and save lives in a non violent way. I know that was a slight digression, but I wanted to make a point that not everything in gaming is about violence. Anyway, so here I am, queuing for Snowcloak for the first time ever. i had JUST unlocked the quest as i was working on the story line at the time to get it done before 2.5 patch went live.
The queue pops (which was, of course, instantaneous since I am a healer) and the first thing i say when i pop in was "hello, all. This is my first time here so if there’s anything special I need to know at the boss fights as healer I’d appreciate knowing. Thanks." That’s actually a macro I have made for anytime I am new to a fight – it saves typing it over and over again. Anyway, the tank, being a team player, responded with "No problem. Since you’re new here I’ll make smaller pulls." So far, this entire encounter is the prime example of teamwork and cooperation. As a well geared healer, I could have probably healed the bigger pulls, but not knowing the terrain or common tank-pulling behavior of this particular dungeon, the tank was absolutely correct in being cautious and assuming I needed to start slow, which made me feel less stressed and appreciative that he was willing to start slow. If I perform well, he could always gradually up the pulls as we go along. Again, great example of teamwork and cooperative gameplay. It was a 4-man team, with the tank, healer (me) and 2 DPS. The first DPS also agreed to the smaller pulls.
And then the second DPS changed the entire atmosphere. In all caps (as typical of these types of children, who are left alone by their parents without any sort of moderation of their gaming habits), this individual called me a liar and a troll for saying I am new and having the tank believe me. Huh? Well, apparently his basis for that accusation was the fact that the dungeon was not awarding a bonus amount of tomes for my being new. Apparently he didn’t remember from his first 50-levels of gaming that not all dungeons give bonuses just because someone is new to the run. This is evidence that this individual most likely did not level his character, and that he either bought the account off eBay, or he paid a power-leveling service to have his character leveled for him (yes, there are multiple sites that offer this service).
This individual then starts going off on the tank for apparently not having the best gear in the game. Now, bear in mind as I mentioned above that this is a storyline quest dungeon. This is not a raid level dungeon. It’s not even a side-dungeon. it’s part of the storyline. There is nothing elite or overbearing about it at all. Part of the process of getting better gear is to finish the storyline THEN start gearing up through intermediately tiered dungeons (normal, then hard, then expert, then extreme). However, apparently we offended this DPS guy because the tank did not have the max level gear in the game, so another tangent came about – again in all caps, as these kids like to do when crying for attention due to seclusion and social awkwardness due to bad parenting in real life.
All the while this was happening, the other DPS, tank and I were fighting through trash mobs while this kid sat at the spawn point just going off in chat. After he ran out of things to say about me being a liar and the tank being a noob for not being in all elite gear (uhm . . . by the way the tank wouldn’t BE here if he had max gear – WTF?) the kid then started going off about how we totally ruined his night for me being new and the tank being under-geared. We ruined his night because he was farming tomes (the items you need to get better gear – oh! But wait! You have to have the best gear to be here! What’s wrong with this picture?) and we decided to play as a team and not some automated plow-through like he was used to.
The entire time this was happening, my main thought was, "Wow, where is this kid’s parents? Aren’t they monitoring his behavior on the internet? Aren’t they aware of his social habits online? Shouldn’t someone be correcting him on etiquette?" Or, maybe a parent WAS there and it was okay for him to speak like that because, as Liz would say, "we’re not real. We’re just fictional." If we’re just fictional, then my cat has some very serious dungeon programming because her aggro is off the charts when it’s feeding time.
To any parents that take offense to this article, you are guilty of that which I accuse. Stop expecting the world around you to raise your kids for you. Believe it or not you actually CAn raise your kids to have a grip on reality. My sweetie is a heavy gamer but knows what reality is. Her parents must have done something right. I am a heavy gamer yet here I sit, not in a game, writing an article about reality – I would think my parents did something right. If your kids are so addicted to something on a computer that it is upsetting them, making them depressed, effecting their school grades, job, and/or responsibilities in life, then how about this? "PULL THE PLUG!" get them off the computer and get them back in check.Don;t wait for something bad to happen then run to the media about how "this took my poor poor child away because it is addictive". News flash, parents – ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING can be addictive to anyone for any reason. No one marched into your him, gave your kid a chemical injection and forced them into the MMO you hate so much. YOU let your kids into that world. if you are going to let your kids into a game, MONITOR them. Here, I’ll provide some assistance:
- to oversee, supervise, or regulate:
"to monitor the administering of a test."
- to watch closely for purposes of control, surveillance, etc.; keep track of; check continually:
"to monitor one’s eating habits."
- punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
- a set or system of rules and regulations.
- to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
- to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
- to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.
OH! Here is a GOOD one:
[pair-uh n-ting, par-]
- the rearing of children:
- the methods, techniques, etc., used or required in the rearing of children:
- the state of being a parent; parenthood.
- of or concerned with the rearing of children:
The last time I checked this was your responsibility, am I wrong?
Well, all, at least this article is short. You wouldn’t want to know the length if I chose to go off on how parents in modern times look upon spanking a kid . . .