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TOPIC: Parenting, Families and Gaming
#7745
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
I guess no one is going to let this subject lie.
At least we have now moved this discussion to the forum where it will not be a bid deal.

This idea is not fun to discuss, but is necessary in many places and evidently has touched a few
nerves here.
Here goes trying to explain a standard that I myself only hold partly in common with these
people.

L, their point is that supporting things that involve such things as demons, magic and other things
that these families call evil IS evil for them and support of such by these people for one's children
to them is not responsible parenting in any fashion.
These people, as far as caring, means that they are actually involved in the life of their children,
and their children are involved right back.
Honestly, most child gamers I have seen coast to coast do NOT have parents that are involved in
their gaming, let alone in the rest of their lives in most cases I have seen so I cannot seriously
disagree with these folks on many points.
When I almost always see parents of gamers in a store or other gaming environment, it is to
either pick up said gamer and/or to spend money on said gamer; it is not to participate in what is going on.
How many of you, when you go to cons or tourneys or even the local store, actually see the
parents playing along with the children in the games and/or can even talk the game on an even
level with them and the other gamers present?
Personally, I can count such parents at maybe 50 in 30+ years of gaming including these folks,
and I have lived coast-to-coast.
When I have asked them about this (educational and occupational hazard - part of my training
and two of my degrees are in psychology) these ideas are what I received which I am evidently
telling poorly from what has unfolded here.
Either that or everyone here just does not parent in an involved fashion, and I am getting bit in
the bum from it.

As far as only one parenting strategy, is there really more than one that actually works L?
Involvement IS the only one that works L.
Otherwise the strategy is either permissive and/or negligent and those are both losing strategies
as far as creating fully-functional, responsible AND caring adults.
That is not my opinion; that is the scientific results of many studies in the fields of family
science, psychology and sociology.
Even law enforcement is picking up on the idea and using it in their anti-drug ads.
Whether or not you are liberal or conservative, when it comes down to brass taxes, this is what
works in the long run.
With these families, I have seen them come to cons as whole family units and they cheer for their
gamer through their games and then shop through the booths together.
They do flinch a bit when passing boothes like White Wolf’s or Chaosium’s; believe it - I saw it!
These two very rare sights are what got my attention originally at several cons and then got me
talking to these folks.
Even then, all of these people I have seen at cons and tourneys are evidently the most liberal of
the bunch.

L, when you say not a single parent you know does anything like I have described, are you
looking at what I am saying in a purely arguing fashion and missing what I am saying?
If not, then you know some seriously sorry parents.
The idea here is that parents make a judgement call as to what is wrong or right, they set
standards for their children to follow while gravitating to other parents that have the same
standards and then they actively live their lives by those standards.
What is there really not to understand in a positive fashion about this?

As far as RPGs, you have already stated your opposition to any ideas that RPGs, especially those
that involve demons, magic, etc., are evil so what is the point of trying to explain it to you?
If I go in any detail about this, I am the fool for talking to a wooden Indian, yes?
To say the least, the balanced research is out there and compares serious RPG playing to other
pathological addictive behaviors such as gambling, pornography and drugs.
If you want more detail than that, I would suggest a trip to an university library, and then read
through some of the serious professional psychological journals of the 90s.
The issue has been resolved so well in the eyes of the psychological establishment that I have
heard that pathological gaming, especially role-playing gaming, will be in the new DSM when it
comes out.
Beyond that I would be incredibly foolish or stupid to continue to talking to the Indian.

You are kidding L right about not making any decisions from caring?
L, if you did not care about a subject and/or how it would affect those you care about (granted, I
am making an assumption that you have any such folks in your life), why then would you even
make a decision concerning it?
You would just ignore it if you did not care L.
I think you may have just slipped into arguing mode when you typed that comment, yes?

Whitewind, no, I am not being the Devil’s advocate in this matter, but the “angel’s mouth� from
these folks’ point of view.
You are showing some understanding of the subject though because you are in the ballpark a
little as far as part of your comment back on Dark World, but then you are also leaning towards
calling these people as religious fanatics.
They are religious from a variety of Christian sects and other religions but are not fanatics; they
just have actual firm standards which I have found rare in the world these days.
They are just parents with standards that you seem to not have and many here ‘may’ not
apparently be able to understand this or refuse to.
You are right though Whitewind in that these people do not support anything that they see as
promoting evil.
Then again Whitewind, who does?
These people just feel certain influences in the lives of their families are wrong (such as the
idealization of demons, magic and such by games like D&D, WFB and others of the ilk) and do
not want them present in their lives.

So folks, what is there really to argue about in this?
Y’all see these folks as wrong, and they would see DOE and that ilk as evil and wrong.
Or is this shoot at the Fox season?

With the subject over here rather than in the Dark World thread, it is where it will fit in better.
As to whether or not I will comment further, I am not sure there really is a point.
It seems often that talking to that cigar store Indian I mentioned earlier is probably more positive
than trying to relay this idea or these standards further.
Well, this is my poor best to try to respond to what was said elsewhere.
Here you go folks:
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#7746
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  

L, their point is that supporting things that involve such things as demons, magic and other things
that these families call evil IS evil for them and support of such by these people for one's children
to them is not responsible parenting in any fashion.


OK. That's fine, that's a perfectly acceptable statement of the view. It just hadn't been given before. I'm not going to attempt to argue about who is right here, I just wanted to see what the position actually WAS. So the view is that anything that involves demons must be evil. What about reading Milton? That involves demons. So does Shakespeare. Faust, of course, you've got Goethe there. But at least the view is intelligible, I just happen to disagree with it.


These people, as far as caring, means that they are actually involved in the life of their children,
and their children are involved right back.


And I agree, that's crucial. But it doesn't mean you have to agree that any particular activity is bad. The parents I know do, in fact, game with their children. Magic, Pirates of the Spanish Main, and Dungeons and Dragons.

As far as only one parenting strategy, is there really more than one that actually works L?
Involvement IS the only one that works L.
Otherwise the strategy is either permissive and/or negligent and those are both losing strategies
as far as creating fully-functional, responsible AND caring adults.


Absolutely. I agree. The strategies I was making reference to were "should you allow your kids to read certain materials" or "Should you spank" or "should you let them watch X amount of TV"

"Being involved" can be compatible with any answer to the above questions. It is central that you be involved with your kids, but that still leaves a lot open. That was my only point.

You seemed to suggest that if I let my kids play D&D, if I play it with them even, or if I let them read a given book or spend time with particular people, I'm somehow not invovled with them, or that I don't care. And I was pointing out that I can be VERY involved, and still make different choices.


L, when you say not a single parent you know does anything like I have described, are you
looking at what I am saying in a purely arguing fashion and missing what I am saying?
If not, then you know some seriously sorry parents.
The idea here is that parents make a judgement call as to what is wrong or right, they set
standards for their children to follow while gravitating to other parents that have the same
standards and then they actively live their lives by those standards.
What is there really not to understand in a positive fashion about this?


Absolutely nothing wrong. And you can do all of that while still playing a ripping good game of D&D. Again, that was my only point.

Maybe you didn't mean to, but it seemed the point you were making was this: "Anyone who thinks D&D is not evil simply doesn't care, or doesn't get involved with their kids lives." And that just isn't true. Even if they're WRONG about D&D, they still care, and they're still involved.

To say the least, the balanced research is out there and compares serious RPG playing to other
pathological addictive behaviors such as gambling, pornography and drugs.
If you want more detail than that, I would suggest a trip to an university library, and then read
through some of the serious professional psychological journals of the 90s.
The issue has been resolved so well in the eyes of the psychological establishment that I have
heard that pathological gaming, especially role-playing gaming, will be in the new DSM when it
comes out.
Beyond that I would be incredibly foolish or stupid to continue to talking to the Indian.


In the academic circles in which I travel -- and I'm in Boston, so I'm thinking of Harvard, Brandeis, Boston University, Tufts, and so on -- these views have been rejected by the mainstream psychological societies.

If you talk about "pathological" gaming, it's really the pathological part that matters. Role playing games have simply not been found, by any reputable journal, to have a detrimental effect.

But beyond that, yes, we're both wooden indians. Neither one of us is going to change our minds. But that was never the point of my post. You were equating "caring" with "deciding that this particular activity is harmful." And I was asking you to consider whether that was a tenable position.

You are kidding L right about not making any decisions from caring?
L, if you did not care about a subject and/or how it would affect those you care about (granted, I
am making an assumption that you have any such folks in your life), why then would you even
make a decision concerning it?
You would just ignore it if you did not care L.


Well, again, I was responding to the point that people made the decision to ban D&D because they cared. That implies that people who allow D&D don't care. If you care, you will ban D&D -- hence, these people, who cared, banned it from their homes. Certain decisions arise only from neglect or indifference, that was your implication. I tried to get us to stop talking that way, because it is dismissive of alternative beliefs that also stem from genuine care.

I wasn't trying to provoke or belittle you, RF, you appear very defensive. I've said from the start that these people are free to raise their children however they see fit. But you started saying that they made these choices because they care, because they are involved. Well, many other people also care, and also get involved, but make DIFFERENT choices. So that can't be the issue. It's irrelevant, it's a non-starter.

As far as I'm concerned, you answered my question, and we're done. You stated what the objection was, and even though I personally am not convinced, it at least is out there for the record. I can cite just as many studies, and journal articles as you can, and point to as much anecdotal evidence. As was said earlier in the other thread, we'll have to agree to disagree. But I did want to hear a substantive answer to some of these questions, and you provided one. That's all I needed to hear. thanks,
L
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#7747
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
So we agree to disagree then.
That I can live with.
Have a good weekend L.
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#7748
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
Now that we're not off topic, I feel a little more free to comment on this...

Isn't this argument completely academic? If these fundamentalist Christians want to boycot DoE, so what? They're not buying this kind of gaming stuff anyway, because they're not playing RPGs. As for the rather vocal minority that Rabidfox describes, who play wargames and such, but only those without content that makes them all squirmy, how much of a loss would that really be? I'm betting it's not enough to make DF, or any other company that makes gaming products think twice.

And for that matter, how are wargames any worse than D&D? Wargames glorify violence and government sanctioned murder, often for ambiguous political purposes. Games like Battletech and others often feature mercenary groups who kill for money. How can it be ok to play games like that on the one hand, while on the other a game like D&D (with clear-cut moral boundaries and a theme of stamping out evil) is shunned?

No disrespect to your point of view, Rabid, but it makes little sense to me. DoE is meant to be a place where bad guys hang out so good PCs can go and tune them up. What's more Old Testament than that? :)
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#7749
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
Yukon

I have to completely agree with you. Interestingly coming from a different background here are a few other bits to think about:

Wargaming: If any kind of game would be regarded evil in Germany (where I actually come from) it would be war gaming. I know lots of parents which do not allow a single plastic toy soldier into their house - as they regard this to be dangerous and detrimental for the upbringing of their kids. It glorifies the war - which is evil.

A plastic conrstruction kit of a tank - now we talk evil ... And this also applies for guns. I know parents who won't allow water pistols for their kids.

I don't want to switch this discussion to a new one if wargames are evil or not. I have no problems with the DOE - with wargames - well - I do tolerate them but never really would like them. What I notice with my 4 year old son is, once you forbit certain types of toys they become even more interested.

For me it is important what they do with these toys. Involvement for me is to be part, to be able to play with them and to know what they do.

My son playing in a Good Lawful group which is out slaying demons and devils - using the DOE - can't see a problem. My son playing in an evil group of thiefs and fighters - torturing the weak, slaying the innocent - using the Ogres Den as their Lair - now we have a problem.

So yes - involvement for me is important.

Thod
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#7750
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
I can't believe I missed that one! Thanks, guys. Yup, for me growing up in the seventies, among the hippies, it was definitely this way. We had all the D&D we could want, but a toy gun or tank was streng verboten.

Funny story: About five years ago, my wife and I were spending time with some friends. Two of the couples had young boys, about four years old. The boys were running around in the backyard playing.

At one point, they ran into the house. We asked "What are you playing?"
One boy said this: "We're stopping the aliens! They're coming, and they're killing everyone, and they're eating everyone! We have to stop them or they'll eat everyone on the planet! We have to kill them!"

And then he looked very seriously at his father and said "But no guns."

L
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#7751
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
L

So how did the boys stop the aliens ?? Reminds me of a scene I watched yesterday on DVD - Angel season 6 - a discussion who would win - a caveman or an astronaut - no weapons allowed.

I think I was happy that I had a very liberal upbringing. My mother never really approved all my gaming. D&D was the more strange one, but this also applied for Play by Mail, later Play by E-mail and for boardgaming were I competed for several years with a team in the German boardgame championships. My mother always though - this is a waste of time.

BUT !! she never really stopped me. She preferred me bringing friends around to play at our place, if I bought the stuff with my own money - fine.

And I think there are a lot of benefits not directly related to the game itself. I hated English at school - but when I started in the 80s there was no German D&D on the market. To get players (my 12 year old brother) I started a translation of the whole rule book. I even once arranged a games session in my English course.

I could go on ... I think my mother recognized there was no direct harm in me gaming - so while not understanding it herself she never really discouraged it and always had an open mind.

Would banning certain types of games have helped ?? I doubt it - you will always find ways. A stick is enough as a pretend gun. My son even has build his own gun from Lego pieces.

Hmm - talkin evil, being not involved. Yup - got told off this morning for posting here and not taking care of the children at the same time. Humm - just did the washing up, my daughter sleeps, my son is playing - guess I earned a few moments of posting here :lol:

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#7752
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
Fundamentalist Christian here, to give you an idea how much, I'm a literal 7 24 hour day creation, the earth is under 10 thousand years old, there was a global comprehensive flood that covered the highest mountains of the day to a depth of over 15 cubits (a modern cubit is about 18 inches, but some evidence suggests that ante-diluvian folks may have been significantly taller than us), there was one common ancestoral pair to all human kind and 8 common ancestors to all modern human kind. Ok so I'm old fashioned, I also wargame and roleplay. I chose my examples from the early part of Genesis because that is a portion of scripture that seems to draw the most ridicule from modern thinkers. Believe as you choose, that is a matter between you and God (or not, if that is your preference, time will tell either way). Religion, and core belief systems, and parenting for that matter are intensly personal matters. Christians, by directive, prosylitize (sp?). The matter of spreading the word was among the last of the recorded instructions to His boby of believers, and they do, to this day, attempt to follow it. All this was said to say, RF might be the minority here in his beliefs, but in some matters he isn't alone.

God bless,

Spencer
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#7753
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
Well, just to be clear, I'll lay out a few things. Until now, I've been playing devil's advocate, largely trying to make sure everyone's position is stated as completely and fairly as possible. The philosophy teacher in me just wanted to keep the debate organized. But it seems now things are less heated, I can reveal some of my own beliefs more freely.

First, I don't think anyone's views on this matter deserve to be derided. Some views, I think, need to be prodded a little, need to be thought-out a bit more. But I do think that there is merit in taking all views seriously and seeing whether or not they make sense before dismissing them out of hand.

Second, I personally am not convinced that RPGs or wargames are morally dangerous because of any demon-related material. They may be addictive, they may attract certain personalities and they may pose a threat to some who have other problems. To borrow an argument from the gun control lobby, games don't get people to worship the devil. People worship the devil and then decide to get into games that have demons in them. But I have read studies showing that no link has been found between playing RPGs and being anti-Christian. Some anti-Christians are attracted to the game, but the game didn't make them that way. Granted, you may develop a host of other social problems, certainly, but you don't become "evil." Just, maybe, a little messed up.

For that matter, yes, there are definite benefits to it. When I took an SAT prep course in high school, most of the vocab section was straight out of my core rule books. "Gibbering," "amorphous," "sycophant." Your skills at math increase, too, especially dealing with statistics and probability (two of the more crucial areas of higher mathematics) Your imagination develops, as do your problem-solving skills. Your capacity to comprehend narrative improves, your memory, and your concentration. There are a great many benefits. There may also be some disadvantages, but I haven't seen any unrefuted evidence that they include moral depravity.

Third, any demon references in D&D strike me as about as harmless as demon references in stories about St. George and the dragon, in Milton, for that matter in Genesis. D&D is an interactive story about the battle against evil. Most of its trappings are lifted straight out of medieval folktales and religious art and poetry, all of which are vividly Christian. The crusades are not anti-Christian. A game based on them isn't either.
The only possible problem is blasphemy for simply mentioning devils -- but that's only a consistent objection for someone who also rules out Milton, et al. Anyone willing to go that far, I respect as having a coherent position. Otherwise, I'm not sure I see any real problem, and any number of studies bear that out. (one way of looking at it: if the demon imagery is intrinsically bad, then everything with it, including Milton, must be ruled out, which is a fine position to take -- but if it is instrumentally bad, you have to show what it leads to, and no study has ever stood up to scrutiny that I know of to show that it does)

For the record, though, I'm always looking for substantive evidence of the instrumental harm of the demon imagery. I haven't completely ruled it out, I just haven't yet come across any.

Fourth, for the record, one of the schools where I teach is a Greek Orthodox school. Most of my male students are studying to become priests. I've been there for years, and I'm quite a popular professor there. My students always love my classes. I ask them to think seriously about their beliefs, I prod them and I try to stimulate serious consideration of what they think, but I am always respectful and they know I take religion very seriously. Even when I disagree with a matter of Christian belief, it is not out of disrespect for the religion.

Finally, I have to say, even though I consider myself largely moderate in my political views, I do lean to the left. But the particular way I lean to the left is in a kind of "cultural rainbow, multicultural, diversity" way. That means that I tend to value as many perpectives as can be thoughtfully and respectfully articulated. The only thing that riles me is dogmatism. There are so many ways to be Christian, and so many ways to be Catholic, or Baptist, or Anglican. There are so many ways to be moral, so many ways to defend a given moral position. It just strikes me as simply factually incorrect to say "This is the way it HAS to be" when empirical observation refutes it. Some people who agree with you will turn out to be morally suspect. Others who disagree with you will turn out to be virtuous. It just is factually wrong to say "All the people who believe X are good people, and all the people who believe Y are bad people."

One of the best scenes I've ever watched in a movie: "Lone Star," by John Sayles. An army major is talking to his father, who runs a bar. The bartender says that people in this small town meet up at one of two places: the church, or the bar. The major asks if more go to one or to the other. The bartender responds "Most people go to both. You see, it's not like there's a line between the good people and the bad people. It's not like you're one or the other."

That's always been one of the greatest parts of Christian morality, IMHO. Everyone is equal before God, and everyone is a sinner. You don't lose your own sins by noticing everyone else's. It's like trying to give yourself a third eye by pointing out everyone else only has two.

Anyhoo, that's my thoughts.

L
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#7754
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
That's always been one of the greatest parts of Christian morality, IMHO. Everyone is equal before God, and everyone is a sinner. You don't lose your own sins by noticing everyone else's. It's like trying to give yourself a third eye by pointing out everyone else only has two.

hehe I like it, never thot of it in exactly those terms before, but I like it.
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#7755
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
You don't lose your own sins by noticing everyone else's.
L


I like that comment.

Anyway - on to business!

Once, ages ago, I and a fellow editor at Target Games went to a housewarming party for a couple of friends, who were both practicing Christians and roleplayers. When one of their friends from the church found out that there were people there actually _working_ with the games, he became highly critical, a position which later turned into a desperate anxiety. Until we realized what drove him we simply couldn't get across, but then it dawned on us - this guy did not live in the same world as we did. His world was populated with evil demons, sent out to destroy mankind. The mere thought of _discussing_ the subject of demons were enough to draw them to you. No wonder he was upset!

My world, the world I perceive with my senses, does not include any demons. I don't believe in them, which means talking about them is about as harmless as talking about any other fairytale stuff. This is the world I perceive, but I do not claim that my view is necessarily the right one.

Some people obviously live in different worlds, at least in how we perceive the world around us. Any two people can discuss the merits of this or that auto maker, or the best solution to the world poverty situation, or whether DF really should produce their stuff in China because of the labour situation, and so on.

If I on the other hand tell you, no, you're wrong, there are no demons and the Earth is 4 billion years old, and Moses was an Egyptian general and later pharao, who in reality (my reality) was in charge of expelling a bunch of religious heretics and not a liberator ordained by God, and so on, we lack an important piece of common ground, which may turn many discussions about certain aspects of the world into highly volatile subjects with no or little hope of agreement. In some respects our worlds are simply not the same.

My opionion in a nutshell: There are some things people will never agree on, and you can solve those problems either by going on a killing spree or by simply accepting the other opinion and letting go.
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#7756
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years, 1 Month ago  
Thod,

I didn't realize that Germany was so anti-wargaming. It makes sense, though, given how hard the country has worked to get out from under the shadow of WWII.

One thing that struck me when I travelled to London is how much more of an immediate and real thing war is there as compared to the United States. I haven't been to mainland Europe, but I imagine it's the same way there. But in London there are still signs of war everywhere, and places you can point to and say "This was the only building in the area to survive the blitz" and "This is the bunker where Churchill conducted the war effort."

That's something that we in America just don't seem to understand. War has always been something that happened somewhere else, and never on our own soil (not since our civil war, at least). As a result, I think we tend to, as a nation, glorify war more than other countries who have been closer to it's horrors.

Maybe that's why wargames don't get boycotted over her and fantasy games do. Anyway, it's something to think about.
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