For people with either a confidence or real physical problem, a lifetime of shyness and reticence can lead to the person ‘missing out’ on the typical times when social skills are developed in life–middle and high school. Children aren’t particularly sensitive to the problems of others, and I’ve found they can be the most vicious and intolerant individuals anywhere. There are, of course, notable exceptions…but you don’t have to worry about them unless you’re “associated with and”.

Because online games (or online anything, for that matter) have a serious disconnect with reality–that is, it’s nowhere near as stressful or intimidating as face-to-face contact. I’ve found the hard way that your impressions of people online (or the characters they roleplay in online games) can be vastly divergent with their real selves. (This isn’t referring to anyone or anything recent–it’s all from my deep, dark past.) With that issue aside, these online environments provide a forum for people who would otherwise be crippled by their problems, and they also provide a means for these people to, maybe, overcome their problems.

This doesn’t mean that every loser or whiny bastard is going to be transformed into a healthy, happy, extroverted class president. But I think you know the kid who could be helped by this–reticent, not particularly attractive, intimidated, smart, geeky, shy. Maybe he has a speech impediment or maybe he’s pudgy. Maybe he’s the one who always gets picked on, or maybe she spends her classes silent, lost in thought, but busy digging in the recesses of her mind. You must know the one I’m referring to. And some people–including myself–don’t have to look any further than their own memories to find them.