Dealing with Downsides: Social Gaming & VWs

Downsides & how to deal with them

There are many positives involved in online gaming, we see in the research: e.g., the collaborative action in World of Warcraft guilds, individual and collective strategic thinking, thinking under pressure, and the informal learning associated with group activity involving multiple ages.

But there are downsides too, usually associated with the real-time chat around online gaming. For example, Doof.com, a brand-new UK-based social-gaming site. Have its creators thought about what parents might think about their kids participating when they read this heading on its About page: “Connect with Friends and Strangers,” under which is listed Doof’s “Private Messages” feature?

With household rules or in family discussion, parents might consider advising their gamers to make sure that…

  • Chat sticks strictly to game-related topics, nothing personal
  • No private one-on-one chat with people unless about it’s just about the game and they tell a parent about it
  • They turn off their headphones or stop chatting if the trash talk gets to be too much
  • They come talk to you if anyone starts getting too abusive or tries to get uncomfortably close or overly friendly.

    Kids need to know that getting lots of compliments can potentially be worse than trash talk and other abusive online behavior. Flattery can be one form of online grooming (see “How to recognize grooming,” “Police on gaming community risks,” and “How social influencing works.”

    Virtual worlds are by definition highly immersive. So parents may also want to be alert to signs of obsessive play. Besides the risk factors involved in real-time communication, there are concerns about something called “videogame addiction.” Here’s the US News & World Report’s focus on younger gamers in this area (see also “‘SIGNS’ of Internet addiction.”

  • NetFamilyNews

    Actually – that article is a LOT LONGER and has some more information about youth virtual worlds coming into existence, as well as some interesting perspectives of social gaming in general.

    Again, I must apologize, I’ll be posting occasionally this week, but will be very light on the “story time with izzy” rambles. 

    IT’S CRUNCH TIME BABY, YEEEEEEHAW.

    p.s. HAPPY SUMMER.

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