|My daughter's panda in Loch Modan|
I have taken the week off for spring break for school and so I was able to spend a few hours playing World of Warcraft with my eight year old daughter. Right now, the only rule we have is that she can only play when I am around to help her. My wife and I are concerned about people on the internet and what they'll say but as long as I'm there with her, I feel like it is fine for her about her to play online. Other parents will have different rules and I don't pretend to know what is right for them or their children, but I'm hoping it is helpful to hear about my experience.
This is the same daughter who was playing Lord of the Rings Online with me last year. She likes pets in games so it's not surprising that she wanted a hunter here. She and some of her friends at school pretend to be pandas, so it's not surprising that the offer to play a panda in WoW was exciting for her.
At eight, I don't think it makes sense for her to have her own account. Possibly at ten I might consider it, but I realize different parents have different tolerances (and different amounts of disposable income) and some children can be allowed more freedom than others.
She also has been steadily playing Pokemon White and White 2 since she received it for her birthday last March. So it's not surprising that she is enjoying the pet battle subgame. I decided with my limited time, I would limit myself to crafting and questing at first, so this was my first to see the pet battles as well.
It's fun! I think it was great that my daughter was able to get 5 achievements related to pet battles in less than two hours of playing time. She also has an older computer with no video card, so it is nice that she can take her time to decide what she wants to do. She started with 'Mojo' as her first pet (I'm not sure why) and she promptly renamed him 'Mojo Jojo'. ;) After getting him to level 3, she decided she wanted to play with different pets and at this point she now has three pets levels 4 - 5 and has defeated two of the pet trainers.
I'm not sure if the parents at Blizzard were behind this or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were at all. This is an almost ideal way for parents with children who want to play with them to be able to play without worrying about others and in a fun, relatively stress free setting.