Assessing the Suitability for Children of Dungeons and Dragons

A long time ago, in the 1980s, people were pretty freaked out by fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. It seems that a few Dungeons and Dragons players, just like a few people of the general population, turned out to be a little less than fully stable. On top of this all, Dungeons and Dragons players were accused of conspiring with Demons and promoting a non- or anti-Christian worldview. Copies of the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and especially the Fiend Folio were yanked off of retail shelves, never to be seen outside of gaming stores again.

While most of these misconceptions have, thankfully, passed, there may still be some leftover prejudices. In particular, many parents who grew up during the Dungeons and Dragons-Satanism connection scare may worry whether playing Dungeons and Dragons or other fantasy role-playing games is appropriate for their children. The good news is that, not only is Dungeons and Dragons appropriate, it can actually help children in a variety of ways. There are several reasons that children should be allowed to play Dungeons and dragons:

• Dungeons and Dragons exercises the mind. Dungeons and Dragons is a game that requires children to think extensively. Not only is there a good bit of practical mathematics involved in Dungeons and Dragons, playing Dungeons and Dragons also requires a good bid of detailed reading. In addition, a good game of Dungeons and Dragons will encourage problem-solving skills.

• Dungeons and Dragons can help with social issues. Dungeons and Dragons is also a social game, and it encourages players to interact positively with one another. Playing Dungeons and Dragons is not a competitive activity; rather, it is a cooperative one. While it is true that children will occasionally get into arguments while playing Dungeons and Dragons, this should not happen any more frequently than if they were playing another game. In fact, it may happen less.

• Dungeons and Dragons can be a family event. Many people who grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons still play today. This gives children an opportunity to share in an interest area with their parents. Many children continue to play Dungeons and Dragons with their families well into their teen years, long after they have begun refusing to play Monopoly or other board games.

Once you get past the hype and the biases, you may discover that Dungeons and Dragons can be a positive experience for anyone, including children.