Can I Play a MMORPG, Dad?
Today’s question from the 8-year-old boy was related to playing a massively-multiplayer online role playing game, otherwise known as an MMORPG. Specifically, it was one for Pokemon, a game he is obsessed with. Of course, he is dying to play, but it didn’t take me very long to say “I’ll think about it” and, after further review, to say no.
To be honest, I don’t think he’s ready for it. Not necessarily the gameplay, as he clearly has that down. It’s the unfiltered interactions with other players that I have a problem with.
I know that predators are there, both in meatspace and in cyberspace. I also know that the media gives people the idea that these things are more prevalent than they really are. While it is a concern, it is not the only one.
The big issue is that there is no real good way to ensure conversations that occur on these games remain age-appropriate. Sure, you can filter the naughty words, but you can’t really filter the naughty subject matter, the innuendo, and other topics that may simply not be age-appropriate.
While I know that he is going to run into some of these things eventually, both in real life and online, neither my wife believe it makes no sense to expose him to a new environment where those things are likely to occur.
Of course, depending on how you’ve set up your computer, and depending on your kids, the kids may not even have to ask whether or not they can participate, they just will. Between knowing my kids and smart setup, there’s usually not an issue. I’ll get into how I set up my kids’ computers in a future post.