The value of a dollar or a bag of gold…

Posted by dkidwell on October 27th, 2006 — Posted in ages 12-17, parenting

If you kid is playing World of Warcraft, they very likely have a bag of gold.  They’ve probably got a character that they’ve invested time and energy into while they play.

And those are real assets….virtual, but real.  Right now on ebay, a level 60 character is likely to be selling for just over $300.   Now, that’s unlikely to be a very strong hourly rate (if you type /played in the chat window it will tell you just how many hours your character has been played.)

But, that character has real value – and if you wanted to violate your term of service with Blizzard, you could convert that into real cash.  The IRS is even starting to pay attention.   Might not hurt to do a quick inventory, if your kid has more than one character, and talk about it.

A level 60 character is only achieved through play, and it’s an achievement that has real, quantifiable value.

Text messaging your kids…

Posted by dkidwell on October 23rd, 2006 — Posted in ethics, parenting

My son and I had a really good chat the other nite. We worked through issues of taking reposibility for your actions and controlling your temper. We got to the bottom of a subject of great debate “If I kick my sister with a gentle push and not a full force kick, and she konks her head on something because she looses her balance, is that an accident or not?”

Not! A kick, albeit a ‘gentle push,’ still landed her head into a cabinet door.

This entire exchange is interesting, but not because of the sibling harrassment. It’s interesting because the truth didn’t come out when Dad verbally asked. It came out when Mom probed with a series of text messages inside of World of Warcraft.

Having heard the ruckus from my workstation downstairs, I sent my son an in game message:

<< Loud noises and yelling from upstairs....>>

Mom: “What was all that about?”

Kid: “Dad thinks I kicked my sister on purpose.”

Mom: “Well, did you?”

Kid: “No. I just put out my foot and she fell.”

Mom: “Um, restate that sentence so it makes more sense.”

Kid: “She’s not mad or hurt or anything.”

Mom: “That’s not restating your statement. Did you kick her?”

Kid: “Well, it was really a gentle push, not a full force kick.”

Mom: “Aha! So you kicked her?”

Kid: “Well, ya.”

Mom: “Dude, stop being a punk. Apologize to your sister and to your dad.”

Kid: “Ok. I did apologize to her. I’ll talk to dad.”


Kid: “I’m sorry mom.”

During the pause, he send an text message to his dad:

Kid:  “I’m sorry, Dad. 

Kid:   “I was acting like a puk.” 

Kid:  “Gak, I mean punk  – I can’t spell.” 

Something about instant messaging is clear, pointed, and doesn’t carry the emotional tension of a confrontation. No knee jerk reactions, just a real conversation. Text messaging made this conversation go very well, and in the end, we had an earnest dialogue.

If you game with your kids, don’t hesitate to talk to them in game. Oh, and save the chat logs, too. 😉

Incentives for young gamers….

Posted by dkidwell on October 18th, 2006 — Posted in ages 12-17, parenting

Our oldest is about to turn 13, and he’s become quite difficult to wake up the mornings. For a solid hour we hear “eeeeerrrr” and “uuuuhhhh.” The sum total of movement from that kid is relocating from his bed to the sofa (to be fair, he get’s point for going all the way downstairs.)

This morning, we tried a new tactic:

“Hey, wake up and get ready so we can play Magic before you leave for the bus…”

Magic the Gathering is a fantastic card game that we played from the year he was born, 1993, until my daughter was one, 1997. (Yes, I mark the passage of time by both birthdays and the games we play.)
He heard the prospects of playing a round before school and BAM – he’s up, dressed, has had breakfast and brushed teeth in record time. Dad, by the way, wakes at 5 so he’s got time in the morning for these things – he’s pretty incredible. For about 20 minutes, he get’s a round of cards with his dad before they both are off for the day.

Wonderful way to start the morning!

Wii can’t wait for Christmas!

Posted by dkidwell on October 17th, 2006 — Posted in Christmas, console games, parenting

We are counting down the days ’till the release of the Wii and are very excited.  I got to play with one at E3 and have been giddy ever since.  Unfortunately, our local Gamestop filled up on pre-orders before we got on the list – they only had 20.  So dad and a friend are already planning to camp outside the local Super Target to get them.  Whoohoo!

If you haven’t already – go calculate your wii budget now:
I expect we’ll get Zelda and plan to play alot of Wii Sports and hold off on other games until Christmas.  The kids are already hinting that Santa could easily leave wiimotes and nunchucks in their stockings.   32 Days till Wii!!