A few days ago a forum post appeared on The League of Legends Official forums stating that is was “Open Letter to Parents of League of Legends Players”. In the letter the author urges parents to think about their effect on other players when they force their children to stop playing due to playtime restrictions, bedtimes, etc. Kotaku later reposted the forum post, calling it sensible reading.
Some quotes from the post:
This is an online game. In most cases, your child is playing with real people.Please take a moment to understand how this game’s person-to-person interaction functions. In the past, I have seen numerous stories of children who routinely disconnect mid-game because it’s bedtime, or their parents decide that they’ve played enough for the day. Some of these stories have come from parents themselves, proudly stating that they are firm about making their children stop playing at a specific time.
If a game is in progress, do not interrupt it unless it is an emergency. You are affecting up to 10 people, not just your child.Feel like checking your e-mail on the same computer? Please wait until the game is over so you don’t completely ruin things for the real people on your child’s teamIs a game that started 90 minutes before bedtime somehow still in progress at 87 minutes? Please allow him to finish the match so you don’t completely ruin things for the real people on your child’s team. Games almost never last that long, and if people lose due to a teammate quitting after spending that much time on a match, they are likely to be more upset than usual.
It’s not the most insane thing to write: people are tired of their League of Legends games being disrupted and ended when people drop out. However, when should a video game be prioritized over the desires of parents or guardians? Probably an uphill battle you’ll be fighting there LOL players. I’ll admit, it is a cordial way of writing about an issue plaguing many LOL players, but should parents really have to amend their parenting to adapt for a child’s gaming habits? That’s a hard to thing to push for. I haven’t personally played League of Legends, but I can’t imagine the problem is great enough to declare that parents need to amend their parenting to accommodate players.
Parents have a hard enough time raising their children without having to worry about the schedule and feelings of their children’s online friends and groups. Believe it or not, something are more important in the long run than a League of Legends ranked matched. A parent has the right to enforce the rules that they put forth.
The forum post points out that it is the responsibility of the parent to teach their children proper etiquette when it comes to having responsibilities to others and scheduling game sessions for when they know they can complete them, but there’s only so much a parent can do; there’s not much stopping a child from starting a game, even if they know the potential consequences. Life happens and sometimes a League of Legends match may be stopped midway because someone dropped out. Worse things can happen than your ranking suffering. The post then comes off somewhat ignorant and bossy to parents, since it’s assuming that something in their parenting is causing the problem. In the end it’s probably a deceleration to no one, as it’s highly unlikely that the post will ever reach the ears of parents.
I find this issue really interesting, as seeing gaming and parenting conflict in such a way really goes to show how much games have developed in the last 10 years. Years ago you would hear kids scream “I can’t save yet!” or “I’m in the middle of a level”, situations in which the consequences only really effect the child, but now parenting and turning off games can effect people thousands of miles away. An action in one’s video game has much bigger social ripples than it has in the past.
Who knows how the next generation of parents will be changed having grown up with similar scenarios; will they be more receptive to dilemmas facing online gaming communities?