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5 chat safety tips for young players


It's winter break. The Spawn is seven years old and home for three weeks. She wants to go swimming, have playdates, check out books from the library, play Zelda Windwaker, and collect pets in World of Warcraft. The first four are easy -- there are already safety nets in place. But now I have to get her WoW account safe for little, reading eyes.

  1. Get the Bunny Censor add-on. I'm going to do other things to protect her from chat, but just in case anything gets through, it's hard to be traumatized by "Bunny you!"
  2. Have the talk. Don't talk to anyone. Don't join groups. Be considerate. See Penny Arcade for an excellent depiction of what we parents have to go through in this day and age.
  3. Leave all public chat, especially Trade and General. The command is /leave and then the channel number. So to leave trade chat for most people, type /leave 2.

  1. Move the combat tab to be the first tab. I would get rid of the chat tab entirely, but there is other info there and I'd like her to learn the entire game.
  2. Cheer her on. This is the euphemistic way of putting that I will be looking over her shoulder as often as physically possible, and the way to sell it is to be enthusiastic. "But Mom! I know what I'm doing!" "You're doing so well! I just want to watch!"
The best way to keep an eye on her is to be in game with her, but the best way for her to learn is to do things herself. So I'll let her be the leader and the quest reader when we play our duo. If I'm her playmate and not her parent, I'll still be able to watch over her while allowing her to grow. But playing with her requires a time commitment I don't always have which is why we need as many safety rules in place as possible.

Of course, we parents know that activities must be varied for our children and we see to our children's mental and physical needs in other ways as well. But if we make the decision to let our children play WoW, it's best to be safe while still letting them have fun.

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