Minors in the guild!
Many guilds don’t allow members under 18. Ours does, and on the whole, it’s been successful. But there are a few principles to keep in mind.
Kids of members
In general, this works well. I’m very willing to let in a kid who is a child of an existing member, even a kid who is as young as 11 or 12. The parent keeps the kid from doing things that would bug guildmates, and can run interference with guildies (such as telling guildies to take an inappropriate conversation to tells).
When this does not work:
- a parent shares an account with the kid, and expects the guild to cyber-babysit while the kid is using the parent’s account
- the parent leaves the guild but the kid stays in the guild
Ugh, no. I’m perfectly willing to help you with your kid, but no guild wants an 11 year old spamming gchat for help running deadmines. 11 year olds don’t understand that people have better things to do. Mom isn’t around to gently explain this, and nobody wants to be the jerk to tell the 11 year old that he’s being rude, make him cry…
So parents: play with your kids. Explain etiquette. And when you leave the guild, take your youngsters with you.
Bad Behavior by Child
If mom or dad is in the guild, tell mom or dad. I would recommend against letting anyone into the guild under 16 without a parent involved. A 16 year old should be able to take constructive criticism and behave accordingly, or get booted.
But I find that the youngsters are so anxious to prove that they are “mature” that they are exemplary members. They keep their mouths shut and follow instructions.
As for the risk of immature crap and awful behavior, that can come from anyone. I’ve had a bigger problem with the 18-25 age group (male). The last two morons booted from the guild were males between the ages of 20 and 25.
Nonetheless, we let the youngsters have a slightly longer trial period than the adulty folk. Just so we can evaluate them a little longer. Doesn’t hurt.
Bad Behavior by Adults
This is where leading by example comes in. If your leadership treats the kids like equals, that’s good. But even better is if you set a parenty-protective tone toward them. Your guild will follow suit.
We have a 15 year old girl in our guild, who has been a member with her father since the beginning of time. All the guildies act very protectively toward her, warning her that boys are evil. It’s very cute.
Any guildies who would act pervy toward a 15 year old girl aren’t people I want to be hanging out with anyway. Yech. In this case, it helps to have female officership, because she knows she can come to me with any complaints, and I’d boot the offender into the next state.
As for bad language – I think you just gotta compromise. If you have kids in your guild, you have to accept that you won’t be able to talk about extremely raunchy stuff. I’ve had people leave in a huff about this but, again, do I really want someone in the guild who can’t go 5 minutes without describing his latest sexual exploit? No.
On the other hand, the parents have to compromise as well. They have to accept that their dear little angel will be exposed to words that are in R-rated movies, and that casual references to herpes might be made. In general, they’ve been ok with that. They know that their kids HAVE heard the F-bomb before.
Scheduling for Raiding
Again, having kids of members makes scheduling easy. There won’t be sudden “parent aggro” to deal with. The parents will play WoW and either allow the child to attend the raid or not.
Youngsters whose parents don’t play may be more of a challenge in this respect. They may have to get off the computer immediately because they share a computer, or because parents are telling them to. This is something you have to just get a feel for – how in control of his/her own schedule an adolescent is.
If the interruptions are too frequent, you’re gonna have to bench the kid. I know, it feels mean, since the interruptions are out of the kid’s control. But you simply can’t have raids interrupted by parent aggro and have to scramble for a sub.
Worth the Hassle?
I think if you’re a mature guild, your guildies will have spawn about the right age to play, and it seems heartless not to let them in. You may lose guildies if their kids can’t play with them.
If your guild culture is just too “mature”, and you’d give up an essential part of your identity letting in kids, then don’t do it.