There’s a new post up at The Daedalus Project on kids and their use of MMO’s, and what their parents think are the risks and benefits:
The survey had 314 participants, parents who were gamers who had at least one child under the age of 18 playing online games.
The perceived risks were as you would expect; exposure to inappropriate language and themes (42%), online predators (32%) and spending too much time playing (25%) were the top three. The article lists out a large number of these risks from the survey. These numbers still support the use of private virtual worlds in formal school settings, as the top perceived risk factors can be mitigated and managed in a private setting (virtually eliminating predators and griefing).
The benefits listed were also interesting; working in a diverse group (53%), problem solving (25%), reading/writing/typing (23%), and social/communication skills (20%) were the top listed. These benefits are exactly what the current cultural virtual world projects seek to provide their students. PacRimX has always tried to foster communication, collaboration and cultural exchange with our participating students from America and Japan. We will continue to strive for this goal with our soon to be announced partnership.
The article closes out with some advice for parents that are letting their students play MMO’s. The best is to not only know what your kids are doing, but to get involved in what they are doing. Don’t just dip in and take a look at what they are doing, but have an ongoing involvement in what they are doing, and research all of the fan sites and outside resources they may be tapping into while playing the game.
The article goes into great depth on the results of the survey. Jump to the full article for a series of graphs summarizing the survey results, and interpretations of the survey results. This should be required reading for any parent thinking about letting their pre-teen or teen play MMO’s of any type, especially those that are free and open to the public (with no verification system).