It’s not only when playing World of Warcraft that we need to keep in mind that we really have no idea what’s on the ‘other side’ of the screen on the internet. I just think about it a lot when I play in groups – I’m well aware that one of the other team members could be some one like my almost-9-year old son. You really can’t tell that the orc tanking your party isn’t actually a big mean fighting machine.
At the same time of course, they have no idea who I am either. Which actually suits me just fine – it IS after all a role playing game, and I don’t necessarily want anyone to treat me like a 30-something year old mother. I prefer for people to think of me as the character that I’m playing.
It is important to keep in mind though that when the ‘other side’ is being unreasonable, stupid, or just plain annoying, you might be playing with my son, my father in law, or a Blizzard employee for that matter.
Likewise, parents should warn their teenagers posting happily away at Myspace, or on MSN messenger, that they really haven’t got a clue what the person on the other side is like. Many of you may have seen the following photo floating around in chain emails. My husband things every teenage daughter should see it as a warning … personally, I think it wouldn’t hurt for a bunch of 20-year olds looking for love on the internet to see it either. You just never know what’s on the other side!