Thursday, April 10, 2008

interview #2

Shortly before I left for New York City, I had another interview with my son about his chatting and his activity on the game Runescape. He has never hidden his activity from me at least as far as I know. I have made it clear that I understand that he may not be telling me everything, but that I appreciate his honesty with me about the nature of his chatting. He lets me watch it frequently.

He chats both on Runescape, as part of the game, and sometimes simultaneously on the IM, which is a name I use for AOL messenger, instant messenger, or whatever the current chat system on the computer is. On IM he has friends from camp (many of whom live 2 or more hours away) and his brother several states away. On Runescape he has mostly Runescape friends and random strangers. Chat on Runescape is vulgar and choppy, no whole sentences, no punctuation. Lots of words that are clearly chopped or changed in order to get around censors. For example, shet, g@y, etc. These words are obviously vulgar to the users and relatively easy to spot by newcomers. Also, they have some words that are unique to the game and environment, but I've lost my notes from the interview, and I don't have examples. When I asked him, though, he was easily able to tell me. One would have to get involved in the game to know what these meant, yet that was not impossible.

As far as the game itself goes, he mentioned that a certain day in September was now infamous in the game, as a day in which the wilderness was outlawed, and in which the entire economy and society was changed, for the worse. People had been killing people (that was fun), robbing them, and, since money was involved and Runescape was responsible, they did something about it. My son was himself a leader of a powerful clan, but the clan had a lot of pretenders; he had been killed by a few of them, but was still quite famous, and, according to him, disliked by some, for allowing such debauchery within his clan. In a situation where murder was common and even expected, he found himself wondering a little about ethical decisions. I couldn't help him.

I think the IM chat is a little different from the Rune chat that I mentioned. I think that it's quite common that people like him spend quite a lot of time chatting one way or the other, and readily see that each environment is different and each one calls for a different level of formality, a different vocabulary, etc. In addition, he stays completely connected to Facebook and to the latest YouTubes. This just seems to be the way life is. He sits by the computer, and Rune may absorb him for limited time, but whenever there's a lull, he goes into FB to see what is happening- goes trolling around his friends' sites, sees what photos they've posted, what movies they've dropped on each other's sites. The YouTubes are regular features. He can easily watch a YT movie, read a FB entry, and chat all at once, sometimes with Word open as he writes a paper for English class. He even claims he studies better that way, but I wouldn't know, since I rarely see him studying any other way. I could try to enforce a more rigorous approach, but exactly how would that work? It remains an open question.


Post a Comment

<< Home