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.