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Modern Parenthood

World of Warcraft unites mother, son miles apart

World of Warcraft online role-playing game kept a mother connected to her son – and strengthened their relationship – when he moved 1,00 miles from home. When her son moved 1,200 miles away from home.

By Guest blogger / April 26, 2012

Here, players and fans from around the world played World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria at BlizzCon 2011 in Anaheim, Calif., in October 2011.

Derek Bauer/AP

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I met Malinda at an educators’ conference several years ago and, over dinner, so enjoyed hearing the story you’re about to read. I later got to meet and dine with both Malinda and her son Dillon and wish you could enjoy that too. Recently I asked her if she’d be willing to tell of this experience in NetFamilyNews, because I wanted fellow parents to know that this kind of long-distance camaraderie is possible in case you want to take advantage of the possibilities in your own way, using games that are meaningful to your family.

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Guest Blogger

Anne Collier is editor of NetFamilyNews.org and co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a Web-based interactive forum and information site for teens, parents, educators, and everybody interested in the impact of the social Web on youth and vice versa. She lives in Northern California and has two sons.

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First, Malinda offered a little context:

“Game play has always been important in our family. It is a tradition that was passed along to us as children. My husband’s grandmother was a competitive gin rummy and bridge player and his dad and my parents were competitive bridge players. Games are a part of family gatherings at holidays and birthdays to this day.

“While [my son] Dillon was growing up, we would spend endless hours playing board or card games together and – as console and PC games became more popular – we naturally started playing those as well. Hence, I’ve never questioned the natural gravitation my son had to online games such as [the massively multiplayer] World of Warcraft (WoW), but I didn’t personally get involved in them until he went away to college.

Why World of Warcraft?

“Dillon moved about 1,200 miles away and while, at first, it didn’t seem like it was that big of deal – because I could call, text or e-mail him whenever – it seemed over time our conversations were less meaningful and … we were starting to disconnect. I could tell it was bothering both of us. Occasionally, Dillon would ask me if I wanted to try WoW since he spent most of his free time there; perhaps he knew this would be a good place for us to just hang out and play together again.

“It wasn’t until his junior year while he was home at Christmas that I started playing. Dillon had already been involved in WoW for several years going back to high school. So it was no wonder when I logged on he had already achieved the highest level with the best gear and was a well-respected raid leader in his guild. [Editor's note: A guild is just what you might guess it to be: a group formed by players that, depending on who's involved, can provide in-game support, resources, and know-how.]

Son’s guild embraces Mom:

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