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Breakfast Topic: Do you know where your children are?


Lately, I've been writing a series of articles on playing with your children. First, I talked about playing with preschoolers, like my own daughter, and then about reading age children. Though both articles are about playing with young children and I recommend not letting them play WoW by themselves, many readers complained in the comments that I was encouraging children to run amok in Azeroth. I certainly understand their concerns, because encountering rude and/or needy young ones while playing can really reduce your enjoyment.

The other night, I started a gnome mage and came across a couple of other gnomes while entering the noobie troll cave. We grouped up to get to Grik'nir the Cold and the leader of the group, we'll call him Goodkid asked our ages. I said my ancient age, Goodkid said he was 11 and the other kid, we'll call him Juvie, said "U R GAY UR 44". Now, I'm not completely hip on the cool talk of today, but I think that translates into English as: "Excuse me, but I think you are lying about your age." Juvie then stated he was 10.

By the way, it was around 11:30pm Pacific Time, which doesn't seem like a good time for kids this age to be awake anywhere here in the States, though I suppose they could have been early risers elsewhere in the world. While we completed our quest, Goodkid continued to be polite and Juvie continued to be barely literate and a bit clueless about what he was doing.

I would love to be able to ask the parents of these kids if they know what they are doing in WoW and if they care. Does Juvie's mom know he talks like that and does she approve? What if I was some foulmouthed jerk, or worse, and decided to belittle Goodkid? And what about the innocent little ones who spam duels or ask for quest help or beg for money, because they don't know any better, and get lambasted by perfectly nice players who don't know they are talking to children instead of grown funsuckers?

I am usually very polite when I turn down the requests of players whom I suspect to be very young and make liberal use of my ignore list as necessary. I try not to worry about the fates of these youngsters -- I just don't have room in my monkeysphere.

How do you deal with kids you encounter in Azeroth? Do you take into consideration the age of the player you are dealing with when confronted with obnoxious in-game behavior? And if you let your young children play unsupervised, unskilled and ill-mannered, could you please explain to the rest of us your reasoning for that? Objection! Inflammatory question! Sustained. Please disregard that question.

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