Very fun thread/posts. I wish you all were my parents growing up lol. My parents were/are very loving, but i don't think they approached the video game "situation" very well. But who can blame them, it's a generational thing.
Unfortunately/fortunately I'm not a parent yet (getting maried in 22 days, i give it 2 yrs before the first kid) so i'll take a little different approach with my post.
What your kids learn if you don't play WoW with them...
I'm 23 now, i started playing around 18 during my freshman year at college. I always liked playing video games growing up, but it was very looked down upon by my parents. They didn't have a "no video games" rule, but it was "bad" thing to waste your time on. Because of their stance, and my own faults, video games became a escape and a way to rebel/ignore problems. So naturally once i went off to college and didn't have the forced restrictions of game time, i started playing way too much. Eventually this lead to me dropping out my sophomore year. Although WoW was not the only contributing factor (parties/girls/alchohol etc.) it was a large part of my issues.
After droping out, i lived with my parents for a while, attending a technical college near by and working at Best Buy (lol, so steriortypicle). Seeing that WoW was a large contributor to my college failure, my parents tried to further restrict my gaming. Rather than treating the problem, they tried to just fix the symtom. One thing i can say for sure, if your kid wants to do something, and he/she is somewhat intelligent, they will find a way to do it.
They couldn't take away my computer since i needed it for school. So they just made me keep it in my room (where there is no Ethernet plug-ins). So the next 2 years consisted of my scraping by while devising plans to get internet access any way possible.
Just so you know how bad it was, i'll give a little rundown on the Internet cat and mouse "game" we played. And how unhealthy of a lifestyle it lead to.
1st Try - they put my computer where there were no eathernet plug-ins.... I bought a wireless adapter and taped into the wireless router (they didn't know it had wireless capabilities, you would think the antennas would give it away).
2nd Try - They caught me playing, i confessed to how i was getting online (was only way to keep my computer) So they encrypted the wireless and put in a password... I installed WoW on their computer. Instead of putting it the Program files, loaded the game to C:/Doc&set/Administrator/ folder named "Cover Letter" so they wouldn't find it. Kept the icon off the desktop, out of the Start bar, they never found it. Eventually i got caught playing it again, they "watched me delete if off their computer" i dragged the icon onto the desktop before they came in, deleted the icon, they thought that was deleting the game. And they took the CD's thinking i couldn't play without them...
This is when things got worse... Learning from getting caught twice, i decided to only play after they went to bed. So most nights i would pretend to go to bed, then get on their computer from 12am - 5:30. To make up for the lack of sleep, instead of going to class, when i would "Go to school" i would actually just drive down the block to a buss station and sleep in my car until it was around time i should be getting back from class. Needless to say this caused me to flunk out. But i couldn't let my parents know (because then they would find out why) so i kept pretending to go to class.
Luckly/unluckly i did go long enough to learn how to build websites. So when my parents asked to see my grades, i took screenshots of the school's website, did a little photoshoping, hid the .html file and folders in their computer. All i had to do was change out some of the .gif's each quarter and BAM, i was getting all 4.0's and 3.5's
Inevitably they caught me playing one late night sol...
3rd Try: - They put passwords on their user names and recruited my bother to help them actually uninstall the game. This is when working at Best Buy really came in handy... i discovered Power Ether net adapters (send internet through your electrical system). So i just plugged one into their router, and the adapter hidden under the desk. I cold now play somewhat during the days, but would still play mainly at night. But since i was back in my room now i could play all the way until i needed to be "heading to class." On the bright side, since i was getting some sleep instead of sleeping in my car, i would head to Barns and Noble and learn C++/C# from "how to" books, and do some recreational Warcraft/Starcraft Novel reading.
The downfall of the adapters is that it often requires you to reset your router. So if i was playing during the day, disconnect mid instance, i would need to head downstairs and reset the adapter. After getting suspicious one day they poked around and found the adapter.
4th Try - Took the adapters and kept an eye out for them. I bought some more (yay for Best Buy employee discounts) and would just plug it in at night after they went to bed.
5th Try - Eventually they found them again and took them away. They didn't take away my computer b/c as long as they thought i was doing fine in school (my website was still working great) they didn't really care. They figured me wasting my money on items they would take (about 80$ for two) was punishment enough. After going through more than enough adapters (I think my parents still have a box with a ton of them) i got smarter and just jacked straight into the House's network (they had it internally wired) from a Box in the attic.
But by this time i had hit my personal rock bottom and decided to put my life back together. In high school i took several drafting classes (mechanical, architectural, structural, AutoCAD, Rhino) which led to a summer job at a Structural Engineering Firm drawing details. While i was working at Best Buy Part time, the Engineering Firm offered me a full time position. I took this as my opportunity to fix everything. I took the job (it payed A lot better than Best Buy) and told my parents that when i finished college i would most likely be doing something similar anyways ( i was originally going to college for 3D media Design) so i might as well drop out and take the job now (to this day they still don't know that i wasn't going to class).
With the pay increase i was able to move out, lived with some friends in a house together for a while until i decided to rent a apartment downtown close to work. Supporting myself, and having actual life restrictions put me back on track. I ended up meeting my fiance walking to work. So there is a happy ending. I still play, about 2 hours every other day, and now ALWAYS put RL before the game. It's just a shame it took so long for me to learn my lesson.
But my whole point of this post was to say KUDOS to you guys for taking an active role in your kids' interests and teaching them how to self restrain their playing. Ultimately i have no one but myself to blame for those horrible years. But i think if my parents had taken an active role in my gaming instead of just banishing it, then it wouldn't of turned into the obsession it did.
It's odd though, i feel like a druggie that resorted to working the streets to support their habit, but is now clean; and looking back at those days with disapointment/fondness. I wouldn't change those days only because it lead to where i am today, and i couldn't be more lucky/happy/grateful.
wow...hows that for a wall of text!
P.S. My next counter was to put the game on a Flash Drive and just hack their account password and start playing on their computer again... I'm telling you, kids will always find a way.