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Should Eleven Year-Olds Play on Xbox Live?

| 25 Aug 2008 17:47
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Wired asks the important question every parent has when their children start gaming: Should they play online?

Wired's Chris Anderson has a tough role as a gaming parent. In a recent GeekDad blog, he recounts the story of his eleven year-old child's first interaction with online games, specifically Halo 3 on Xbox Live.

"Not five minutes into my 11-year-old's first Xbox Live Halo 3 match with a headset he got called 'bitch'. Then 'punk' and then worse," recalled Anderson.

Before the accusations about letting his son play an M-rated title were shot, Anderson addressed the issue, stating, "I've not only played the game (start to finish) with him, but I'm IN the game (I've got a voice acting cameo). Also, a rating is a guideline to help parents use their own judgment based on what's appropriate for their own kid, not a law."

Anderson believes that by exposing his son to online gaming, he has built his own leadership skills. After all, the internet is the "school of hard knocks" in the modern world, and an adventure Anderson says could be a "good lesson in real-world survival skills, or a scarring one."

He then opened his entry for comments, resulting in various responses ranging from supportive gamer parents to the more conservative.

Andy P wrote, "As long as you're actually BEING a parent, and explaining that: Shooting other people is bad, talking to other people like a Live idiot is bad, and to always respect people when he's playing, then you're fine."

ikaruga3064 refuted, "Jeez - stop being such a lazy Dad and spend some quality time w/ your kid. The Xbox is NOT a babysitter."

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