This is going to be a short ramble/rant.
Dear kids social gaming w/o behavior reporting mechanisms: Bravo to you for having moderation tools & staff… those are two of the most necessary elements of a youth virtual world, I harp on them constantly, lol – but you know what is equally important? PROVIDING THE TOOLS AND ABILITIES FOR CHILDREN TO TAKE THE NECESSARY STEPS IN BETTERING THE COMMUNITY, PROTECTING THEMSELVES, AND HAVING A VOICE.
There’s a funny thing about “behind the curtain” – it’s BEHIND the curtain – aka your audience has no idea what’s going on back there. Rules, policy, toolsets, staff – etc – the audience doesn’t experience that at all.
If a child is getting harassed (followed, spammed, annoyed, scared, bullied, etc), pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease give the child an opportunity to express a need for aid, either on behalf of themselves, or others. A reporting function, etc.
My issue #1.
I watched an avatar chase another avatar around (from room to room) saying things like “i ate u” and “u races base tart” and “u think ur so good”. Firstly, that child is beating the chat filter system. Secondly, how the heck is a kid supposed to protect himself or herself from that kind of bullying? I was trying to report the griefing avatar and could not do so. Not good.
Yes. There is often the ignore function… that is, if you have it. But the ignore function doesn’t stop the griefer does it? No – they’ll just grow weary and find another person to harass.
My issue #2.
We teach children to rely on adults when they need aid. Why? Because children are still socially developing – many times they do not have experiences to draw from, the social graces or strength to navigate negative interactivity, or worse, they DO have bad experiences to draw from and that furthers fear & need for aid. They’re KIDS, people. Minors. Youth. Inexperienced. Learning. Need guidance. Need someone to fall back on. Etc.
I’m not saying – be a momma bear, or a watch hawk. But provide a method for children to use their voice if they need to, for themself and in protection of others. I’m totally an advocate for kids learning how to pick themselves up after they fall, but if you provide a virtual world and label it as FAMILY FRIENDLY or SAFE, then you better create the mechnanisms necessary to provide the aid your audience both needs and requires.
The need for a moderator to respond to a negative action is almost as necessary as the relief/hope that comes after a child is able to use his/her voice to express a need for help from an adult.
I’m sorry if this is far more aggro then usual – I just hate visiting youth-based virtual worlds/mmos and witnessing nefarious activity and not being able to do anything about it, and worse – seeing a young community struggle with the same problem.