Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Online Gaming Parental Control

Online gaming parental control is being ordered by the Chinese government to online game 'operators' (click here to read full article).

Quite frankly, although it's with good intentions, this is just a very futile attempt which may just be for show so that parents would think they're trying to do something about it.  Why do I think it won't work?  Here are a couple of their suggestions/provisions they want the online game operators to do:

1)  "Upon proving their identity, parents will be able to put daily or weekly restrictions on their child’s game playing time, the notice said. They would also have the option of putting in place a total ban."

Get ready for more, as parents say it, "rebellious" children.  Kids will surely find ways to make it happen.  It will prompt hackers to create some work around, sell it to kids who have been banned or limited in gaming.  Yes, it will drop the number of kids playing their eyeballs out (some kids who can't get their hands on the new hack), but it will not stop them from rebelling.

2)  "It urged game operators to employ special staff to assist with the project and to set up web pages and hotlines"

Employ additional staff?  Set-up web pages and hotlines?  Both mean additional expense items for the companies.  Of course they'd protest, but if it's something mandatory, they'll set something up, like a crappy system that would be the most cost effective set-up for them, and it won't be efficient enough to do the task the government intends them to do (with regards to parental control) and of course, kids would stay away from online games that would boast "GREAT PARENTAL CONTROL SERVICE"...  What!?  No way!  So do companies like that?  Hmm...  I bet not.

In any case, there's been similar attempts to limit gaming in the Philippines, but I don't remember that ever stopping me.  Is it something I should be proud of?  Well, of course not, but that's the reality.  I remember walking to one computer shop at Dapitan (the other UST Exit parallel to Espanya) and a  group of guys almost ran past me as I was nearing the door to the shop.  And once I got in, the group of boys (high school boys) were calling their friend warning him that their teacher was on his way to the shop because he heard (the teacher) from one of the classmates that he cut school to play.  Apparently, it was a very important day or he was just a very pissed off teacher, or the kid was a frequent offender.  In any case, even after I left the shop, the teacher was delivering his sermon to the highschool boy.  It wasn't scandalous, because the teacher was very calm and very gentle.  It was just a sad sight seeing kids neglecting their school duties for video games, but there are also kids (like me and my bro) who turned out ok, and was able to balance school (get good grades) and gaming (get good scores).  ^_^

So, am I saying that nothing should be done?  Definitely something should be done, and that something is the right kind of discipline starting from when the kids are really young.  One way to do it is gaming through reward system.  Instead of restricting gaming to 1 or 2 hours a day or a week period, it would probably better if parents say, "Son/Daughter, you can play 1-2 hours a week only, but you can get 1 or 2 hours more in the weekend if you do good in school."  Something like that.  Another thing is, videogames are just electronic versions of real-life games that parents can play with their kids.  If, at an early age, kids enjoy little games with their parents (scrabble, boggle, chess, flash cards, twister, etc), then even if they try videogames, it won't be too difficult to switch them back to those non-electronic games every now and then, because to them, videogames and boardgames, etc are all the same.

What do I know, I'm not a parent?  Well, but I was a kid, and I had parents.  This is how they did it with us, and we turned out ok.  We appreciated all games in general.  We loved boardgames (tried all ninja turtle version of boardgames, snakes and ladders, scrabble, chess, Salpakan - Games of the Generals), we loved trivia games (Thinkaton), card games (flash cards - yes, the math ones, suited cards... ^_^), games with other kids (langit-lupa, si nena, dodge ball), etc.  These are what worked out best for us, but you can try different styles or approach according to your kids' personality.

My opinion, government mandated parental gaming control >>> FAIL

In-house, personal parental gaming guidance >>> ^_^ thumbs up!

Gaming aren't just for kids! - from Anne in Red.


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