With such a popular game as the famous MMORPG, World of Warcraft, also known as WoW, many parents wonder if it’s ok to let their child play this game. Many children ask to play because they know friends who play or another family member or even have seen advertisements for it on TV. As a parent, how can you decide if this is a good game for your child?
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
• Has your child played any games before?
• Does your child play other PC games?
• What is the age of your child?
• What is your child’s maturity level?
The same advice that I give to every parent is that before you allow your child to play a video game, you need to play it yourself. World of Warcraft has a free trial mode that can be downloaded from their website. This 10 Day Free Demo allows you to see various aspects of the game and the content that it contains.
You will also be happy to know that WoW has parental controls and in-game filters such as the profanity filter. You can even control during what hours your child can access the game. However, as with all online games, the content is subject to change and you cannot control every aspect of online play that your child may encounter.
We allow our oldest two children to play occasionally on our WoW accounts. They each have a character that they like to level up together. However, we turn global chats off and our children are not allowed to talk to or group with strangers. They play the computers in a public room with us watching over their shoulders and they always tell us first if another player tries to talk to them. This is because my oldest children are 9 and 10 and I don’t believe the online content of the game is appropriate for them to access without supervision.
The “blood and gore” aspects of the game are mild and very cartoon-ish so this doesn’t bother me very much but it could some other parents. Also, there are portions of the game that make very mild sexual innuendos and references to alcohol. Younger children probably wouldn’t “get it” anyway but some parents still may not be comfortable with these aspects.
Finally, there is one last point that I’d like to make. Games like WoW can be very time-consuming and are prone to becoming addictive. If you investigate the game and decide you do want to allow your child to play, please be sure you monitor their time played. No child (or adult for that matter) should sit in front of a computer screen for long hours playing a game. Encourage breaks and know when to take away the game if it’s getting excessive or interfering with other responsibilities such as school, family time and housework/chores.
Games are the way of the future and it’s not likely you’d be able to completely shield your child from them even if you wanted to. However, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the games and their content before allowing your child to play.