What is an appropriate amount of time spent playing World of Warcraft?
I won’t try to suggest an hourly amount of what is acceptable gaming time for a Christian because I believe balance applies to all areas of life and may be different for each individual. How we invest our time isn’t just a gaming issue — balance in all areas of life is the issue. This applies to how much TV we watch, how much food we eat, and how much shopping we do. All these things can be addictive and must be balanced with the rest of our life. In the context of World of Warcraft and other video games, boundaries need to be set to decide what’s an appropriate amount of time for gaming.
Over at OpenSwitch.org, Ben Gray posted an excellent list of tips for Raising Technology Teens that may help guide parents specifically in this area. Here’s my summary that might apply here:
- Be crystal clear regarding what is off limits to your teen. Then discuss the consequences of breaking the rules.
- Consequences for breaking the contract should hurt. Each teen is different in this area. Consequences in the adult world can be brutal, so don’t mislead your teen by making their consequences laughable.
- Take the time to learn about the digital devices your teen uses.
- Use technology to help monitor your teen. Technology isn’t evil. Find ways to make it work FOR you.
- If your teen has slipped up and made unwise choices regarding the Internet then you should feel justified in keeping a VERY close watch on everything they do online.
- Talk to other parents of teens about what they do to keep tabs on their kids. You might get some new ideas and who knows, you might give them some ideas too.
Help you teenager make wise choices in how they spend their time. Don’t belittle their interests just because you may not understand it or have a personal interest in it yourself. Rather, come alongside them and even genuinely participate in their areas of interest. Get a World of Warcraft account yourself and join your teen’s server. Play together and give your teen an opportunity to teach you something for a change. After a little while, discuss it together. Teach them to make decisions concerning areas like WoW rather than making a habit of pulling rank and defending your answer with, “Because I said so.”
Real-life is more important than how well you can move pixels around on a computer monitor that looks in to a non-existent fake world.
Remember to keep your priorities straight. Roughly speaking, that includes:
- Miscellaneous responsibilities
- Entertainment and gaming
When all other areas are met satisfactorily first, entertainment is totally legitimate. Time spent with God, with the wife and kids, working diligently for your employer, and taking care of other responsibilities around the house and church always come first. With the leftover time, WoW it up!
[tags]World of Warcraft, MMORPG, MMO, Guild Wars, spirituality[/tags]
Posted on January 24, 2007