Another Open Letter

A supplemental response to Penny Arcade’s response to Ice Weasel X’s Open Letter Parents of League of Legends Players.

Dear Ice Weasel X (and most players signing on to the open letter),

You aren’t a parent. This is pretty clear from your letter. If you are a parent, apologies, but you come across like those childless friends who seem to think they know how to parent by giving seemingly simple and reasonable solutions. The delivery is therefore akin to a pre-pubescent child in VOIP trying to tell you strats for LoL. Ask any parent the worth of a childless person’s advice.

There are events every decent parent understands called “Teachable Moments”. If you are not a teacher or don’t have children you might not recognize this idea. A dependent child overplaying his or her time on the computer when there are other responsibilities is one such Teachable Moment.

It is good that you correlate the effect on the parent’s punishment to the 9 other players. However, as a parent having faced similar Teachable Moments I would tell you that I could not care less about those 9 human beings enjoyment of a luxury (i.e., video game). My only care in that event is for my child.

I would pull the plug. I would use the moment to teach my child how they affected those 9 human beings with their poor responsibility. I would discuss potential fallout from their lack of responsibility. I would discuss how to approach the event next time it could occur.

Letting my child finish the game and then grounding him is a poor way to teach the child, which is why again I assume you are childless. If the occurrence became repetitive taking away luxuries is definitely on the table, but doing it without creating a Teaching Moment is just a waste. I find that with my children creating preemptive groundings where they can make a decision is much better than reactive groundings (e.g., “next time this happens you won’t get screen time for the weekend”).

The best thing is for a parent of a young video gamer to understand the games their child is playing, especially online games where my child can be affected by other people, and vice-versa. A parent with such knowledge would understand how to illuminate the possible pitfalls of a child’s allotted play time. I can then illustrate that my child “probably has only time for one match before dinner”, etc.

I then create an understanding between me and my child. The match might go overlong, but the deal was struck. I let my child play because I said “one match”. It works both ways in a good relationship with a child, which is why I slightly disagree with Penny Arcade’s response. My word is law in my household, but I definitely want my child to have decisions to make within it.

I will tell you, Ice Weasel X, that if a parent does not care enough about his or her child to do this much: to create Teachable Moments, to understand and learn about a child’s hobbies, to learn how a child is affected by / can affect other people in online activities… they certainly don’t give a shit about you.

–Ravious

15 thoughts on “Another Open Letter”

  1. This is why I love parental controls in WoW. Set the time limit, inform my daughter of its parameters, she gets in-game warnings as the end time approaches, and then when the time hits, off she goes.

    Yes, a disturbing portion of the time when the end comes, there is a plea for more time. That is negotiable depending on the situation. If chores or got put off to play, well, chores need to be finished before there can be any more time. (Homework always comes first, and we check the online assignment sheet for her school, so we know what she needs to do.) If I said she could play while we watched TV and we just started another episode of The Wire, well she might get extra time.

    But a gratifying amount of the time she has things wrapped up and is ready to log off when the five minute warning hits. Those are quietly proud moments for me.

    As for what happens with other players when she doesn’t plan ahead… well, I tell her she owes then the courtesy of at least a quick explanation if she has mis-judged her time, but their needs don’t enter into how time is allocated.

    1. We use a kitchen timer usually, or give them countdowns. The in-game thing in WoW is terrific!

      Those quiet proud moments are definitely worth it when you finally get the feeling all that Work of being a parent has sunk in… somewhere.

  2. I don’t have kids so I certainly don’t have the knowledge or right to be able to tell other parents what they should be doing. I do know based on friends with kids that no perfect plan survives contact with a child and there is no perfect way to raise kids. I also know having seen first hand what has happened to my nephews when their parents do not police their computer gaming time.

    I had a good laugh at the Ice Weasel X letter. The self-entitlement is dripping off the page. He can write as many “open letters” as he wants (I hate that term anyway) but it won’t change parents doing what they have always done – ensuring their kids don’t turn into anti-social gaming zombies.

  3. Isn’t the content of the open letter implying that your kid knows how long games take (since they play the game) and know when they need to stop? Both this reply and the PA one make it seem as if the letter is asking for a ‘gotcha’ moment with the kid. Like “surprise, its bedtime that you didn’t know about so after this game you are grounded”. That’s not how I read the letter.

    The letter to me is covering the situation when your kid knowingly queues up for another game even though they know they don’t have time (because in part, you have failed as a parent to teach them not to do so). That’s the scenario covered, and under that situation I agree that pulling the plug on the game isn’t the right call, because you are not only ruining the game for 9 others, but also likely getting your kids account one example closer to a ban (have fun dealing with your kid then, especially if you spent money on skins). Plus, again like the letter states, you have other parent tools to both teach and punish without your badly-behaving kid impacting other people.

    Your kid is a precious snowflake to you. To everyone else they are another kid. Acting like everyone will understand that the snowflake comes above everything else is what makes people annoyed or worse with you and your kid. Don’t be that parent, that to me is what the letter is asking for.

    1. “Acting like everyone will understand that the snowflake comes above everything else is what makes people annoyed or worse with you and your kid. Don’t be that parent, that to me is what the letter is asking for.”

      Yup, and PA and myself responded accordingly.

        1. No, I’m saying we do not seek your acceptance (“I don’t have beef with you until you start telling me how to do my shit.” -Tycho). That you are annoyed, sorry, but your annoyance and loss of video game time does not rise to the level of changing the course of my parenting.

          1. That is exactly saying “be that parent”.

            Its similar to when you go to a restaurant, and some couple has brought a baby along, and when it starts crying and making a lot of noise, they make some attempt to quiet it down before just accepting that “babies will be babies” and carry on with dinner.

            Or you could be a decent member of society, realize that you put yourself in that position (have baby, decided to go out) where making a lot of noise isn’t socially acceptable, and correct it (take the baby outside, leave early, or just stay home).

            Having a child doesn’t instantly make you immune to the norms of society. Making a racket in a restaurant isn’t viewed as acceptable. On perhaps a lesser scale, neither is quitting out of a LoL game.

            Parent how you want to parent when it only effects your child. As soon as it starts to effect others, the snowflake bubble is gone and normal rules of society apply.

            (To say nothing of the example you are setting for said child with such actions, and what lessons they are learning when mom/dad let them act in such a way)

            1. That restaurant example has no correlation at all to Ice Weasel X’s situation because your enjoyment of your dinner is not based on the existence of a parent’s child being present.

              A “lesser scale”, ha HA. Miniscule, miniscule scale. There are much worse members of the accepted LoL community than the kid that occasionally gets the plugged pulled.

              Going by your restaurant example (which again has zero correlation to the issue at hand), this would be like me taking my noisy, crying kid to a dive bar filled with drunks, laughter, and loud music.

            2. Another thing…. given this response you clearly don’t understand at least my parenting style of creating Teachable Moments, which was what most of my post was about. “That Parent” (which parents such as myself usually hate) do not create such moments where they try and teach the child to the cultural norms.

              If I pulled the plug (and if you read Wilhelm’s and my exchange you would understand that it is very unlikely that we would get to that point), it would be so that the situation would not happen again. You have to understand and accept that it is not just the “cultural norms of LoL” at stake when you lose gametime to a kid whose plug got pulled.

  4. “That restaurant example has no correlation at all to Ice Weasel X’s situation because your enjoyment of your dinner is not based on the existence of a parent’s child being present.”

    But if said child is present and the parents don’t act accordingly, then my dinner experience is lessened/ruined, just like a LoL game is lessened/ruined by a child and the way his parents reacted.

    “A “lesser scale”, ha HA. Miniscule, miniscule scale. There are much worse members of the accepted LoL community than the kid that occasionally gets the plugged pulled.”

    Just like there are worse things at a restaurant than a crying child; doesn’t make a parent that keeps the crying child at the table any more acceptable.

    “Going by your restaurant example (which again has zero correlation to the issue at hand), this would be like me taking my noisy, crying kid to a dive bar filled with drunks, laughter, and loud music.”

    Still annoying to everyone around and not a good move as a parent.

    Second reply you seem to shift position, because now you are saying you wouldn’t plug pull, which is my entire point. Regardless of how you want to teach your child, if you do so at the expense of others (plug pull), that makes you an ass IMO, especially because to get to the plug-pull situation, you had to have failed at least a few steps before with the child. Don’t make others suffer due to your decisions, whether it’s LoL or some other group-based situation.

      1. Haha well that part is very true. Anyone reading the LoL forums isn’t likely to not understand game lengths and how best to school a child around the game anyway. Good try good effort on his part I guess; he got PA and a Rioter to post about it.

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