Thursday, July 2, 2009

Babysitting, or "When Parents Start to Train Their Lil Hunters"

We've had a slew of new parents in our guild in the last two years. Most of us joined fresh out of college and now is the time for baby-making, apparently.

In a few more years, we'll expect some parents to start getting their children accounts and helping them with their In Vino Veritas applications.

I, of course, am all about legacy guildies. Woot. But I do wonder about the inherent problems of having parent-child teams in the guild.

My greatest fear is this -- a parent brings a child into the guild and then doesn't log on when the child is on. If the child misbehaves, it's like those who are on are the babysitters who have to tell the mom or dad and hope he or she takes appropriate action.

Some parents have said or implied that they're glad IVV exists for their kids to join so that they can be protected from all the mean people in the game.

But is it a guild's job to protect?

Is that even a good reason to accept someone into the guild? So they don't have to deal with meaner guilds? Will that give the entering child a sense that he or she is special and that we'll overlook bad behavior? (Not that I expect IVV kids to be bad, but you have to admit: children instinctively push boundaries.)

What happens if a child is uncheckable without a parent present and the guild has to make an unpleasant sacrifice -- appeal to the parent to form a holding guild to play with their kid until he or she is old enough to behave?

IVV does not have good policing techniques. We don't make good babysitters and we overlook crap for as long as humanly possible without making a peep. And I worry... what if things just go wrong? What if one child lashes out at another in childish anger and parents get mad at each other for not stopping it? What if an adult has to take a firm hand with a child who then runs to mom or dad crying? What if... a parent brings in a child too young to handle guild life and it hurts our relationships?

For the most part, I know that IVV is full of responsible people who will take care of their children if and when they misbehave. But there's always the parental instinct to protect. And there's always the feeling that in a family guild, you have to stick with family. Even if it means leaving to play with your child because they really are too young to handle a real guild.

So we might lose someone to unfortunate circumstances. All I can hope for is... well, the best. I'll hope for the best.

1 comment:

  1. My kids actually want to get into their own things in the game. I'm not sure how much of it is "I wan't to go do something seperate from Dad" or how much is "I don't want to be in my brothers' guilds!" But the end result is that we all kinda' migrated to different guilds. Whole different servers, in fact.

    I did make characters on my kids' servers and got invited into their guilds specifically so I could meet some of the folks they would play with most often. Mostly, though, I just end up watching them play frequently and get to read their guild chat over their shoulders.

    As long as parents monitor their kids' online activities from time to time, there will be ample opportunity to discuss behavior and define acceptable parameters. It should not fall to the guild to teach or babysit the kids . . . it is still the parents' responsibility. That doesn't mean kids will always behave appropriately. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee there will be occassional "issues". That's just human nature. Speaking as a parent and as a player, I would prefer that I be the one to deal with those issues rather than my guildmates. I would love to be informed of the issues . . . but at the same time I don't think it's my guildmates responsibility to inform me. I wouldn't hold it against them if they "rat out" my kids . . . but I fully recognize I have the responsibility to supervise my kids.

    I mean, you're right that there does exist a parental instinct to protect one's children. I'm sure that's why some parents intend to introduce their kids to WoW within the safe embrace of a familiar guild. There is also a very strong instinct to teach one's children. If my kids behave in a way that would get most people kicked out of a guild, then they should be kicked out of the guild rather than given any special preference. There's an important lesson for kids to learn there about actions and consequences.

    And maybe remorse and forgiveness.


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