I Am One Of Those Horrible Neglectful MMO-Playing Parents

I Am One Of Those Horrible Neglectful MMO-Playing Parents

Whenever I post a story about a parent neglecting his or her children while playing a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, I can’t hide my disgust for that sort of person, so you can imagine how I felt about myself this weekend when my two 10-month-old children left the house in the middle of a boss fight.

I thought I had the situation in hand. We’ve cordoned off a safe area in the living room where my twin boys, Archer and Seamus, can roam freely, playing with toys, eating crunchy things and watching Yo Gabba Gabba to their tiny hearts’ contents. They seemed occupied, so while my wife-creature had just left for work, I figured I could sneak in an instance in the open beta for En Masse Entertainment’s new MMO Tera.

Completely engrossed by the game’s dynamic combat and lost in my first real taste of group fighting, I managed to keep one eye on the boys at all times, even pausing once or twice to run over and break up the odd baby fight. It wasn’t until the final boss fight that I turned my full attention to the game. Just five minutes, what could go wrong?

As the gigantic creature fell to the ground, I turned slightly to my right and discovered the living room door had blown open in the wind, and the babies had left the building.

I nearly had a heart attack. Utter panic gripped me as I bolted up out of the chair and ran to the door. Archer, the larger, less devious one was sitting on the doorstep, looking around. Seamus had nearly made it to the grass, some 3m away from the entrance. I quickly gathered them up, brought them inside and made sure the door was shut and locked, something their mother forgot on the way to work.

The babies were perfectly fine, if a little upset that their adventure was cut short. At least they were perfectly fine this time.

Anything could have happened in the five minutes my attention was pulled away. Young children and animals (sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference) roam freely about the area. People are moving furniture along the footpath. All it would have taken was one choking-sized object on the ground, and this slightly humorous moment might have turned tragic.

Now I’m not saying I’m in the same league as someone who leaves his baby in the car to go raid or forgets to feed her children because they’re busy playing, but for a brief, startling moment, I felt like that. I don’t want to feel like that ever again.

So I won’t. New rule: When watching the children I shall not play any game I cannot a) play with them in view and b) pause if I need to attend their whims. I care about these little bastards too much to let a game get between us.


  • I only play when the kids are asleep, except when it involves playing with them – Singstar, LBP etc – but I have on occasion arrived home to my wife playing Bewelled oblivious to the chaos around her, and wondered how long she’d been playing for…

  • We invented rope for a reason.
    Though seriously every parent has those times, even if you don’t play games. I walked home from work one day only to find my 3 year old about half a km from our house. When we got home it turns out my wife was so busy cleaning she did not even know the kid had left.

    One time me and my 4 year old daughter checked the mail together. In the time it took me to bend over, look in the mail box and stand up she had completely disappeared. Luckily she only went visiting next door and was returned quickly there was still a mix of fear and confusion that only parents can know.

    You have to pick your games counter strike is good to play when minding kids, the rounds only go for a bit so there is plenty of breaks to check everything is good.

    • Nah, I reckon a leash is a great idea. They do essentially have the intelligence equivalent to that of an animal at that age afterall…well then again, I guess that whole, accidently strangling themsleves might be a problem. Ok, maybe if you tie the other end of the leash to your big toe, then you’d know if something was up.

  • I think those are fair rules, as long as the pause option is there and they’re in peripheral view anytime they toddle off out of your line of sight, pause and follow. Don’t really see a problem with playing some games while you’re looking after the kids, playing the ENTIRE time yeah sure that’s basically a form of neglect.

  • A friend of mine had chosen to only play turned based games until such time as his new daughter can fend for herself. I told him I’d see him online once his daughter goes to Uni.

  • It won’t be long until they join in the fun, then you will be feeling guilty that you are not taking them to the park so they can ‘play outside’..I have a tight weekend schedule of morning tennis, 2 hours of games, park with football …and then I can sleep at night without punishing myself.

  • From the title i expected this to turn out like the other articles : Go outside, grab our kids, shake them, maybe throw them AT the door, beat them some more, burn them with a cigarette….

    As it stands, just a lapse of concentration.

  • Yeah… i pretty much have to wait for the kids to go to bed before I can play games. Anything which narrows your attention to directly in front of you is pretty much incompatible with taking care of kids. Even surfing the net is enough to distract you for long enough for something to happen.

    You should really lock your doors though. Seriously mate. My kids can get into the back yard but never the front yard.

  • Archer and seamus, when they get older they should get each others name tattoed on thier backs… so the always have each others backs…

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