I'm a parent of a 14 yo girl and an 8yo boy. I play paintball, and the gear is always around the house. I teach them safety in small doses (ie: ensure there is no air/paint when cleaning/customizing) Neither have shot anything yet, but my boy shows tons of interest.
Let them know that while safe in the purest sense of the word, you won't get killed or sent to the hospital form a safe game of paintball... but getting hit DOES hurt. My 8 year old shows enough interest (and is athletic as all hell... skateboarding, swim team etc...) that I'll introduce him to the game at 10-12 years old. Until then, I plan on taking him to a field one day and trying out my markers in the chrono range (One field I used to play at had a target field as well)... let him see just how powerful these guns are. Then, have players coming off the field show him a few welts (or even me if I play that day)
There is a difference between getting seriously injured and getting hurt a little in the course of a game. Let them know the difference so they're not scared to have a few welts... no different than a skinned knee from any other activity... but it can be shocking the first time you get hit and it stings quite a bit, and leaves a mark that lasts a week.
In that vein... perhaps more safety gear than just HIGH QUALITY goggles... I wear knee pads every time I play, mainly for kneeling, but also to protect my shins while crouching. If I sent my pre-teen or early teens son out there, I might have him wear chest and forearm protection as well, so that he didn't get scared off the first time he got lit up. Nothing is more discouraging than realizing that you might come out of every game covered in welts.
Also... for first markers, I want to throw in my recommendation of AGD Automags. Solid shooters, very reliable, small, light trigger pull and infinitely upgradeable. You can go from a basic semi to a warp fed pneumag one step at a time... and as for investment, you'll always get every penny back. My first marker was a Tippmann 98C, then a PGP, now I've discovered the Automag and wonder why I didn't start there... same price range (more or less) for a 68 Classic as a model 98, and half the weight with an upgrade curve that ends in a better overall marker (in my opinion)
And as everyone else has said... avoid letting them flock to the agglets. Flashy gear will catch their eye, but that crowd (no offense) are the ones that'll instill value on high end gear rather than sportsmanship and fun. Perhaps dads can take their kids out and talk to some seasoned looking players for advice. I'm still new to the sport, and I can see the difference in advice from the electro crowd to the pump crowd... and while the MCB mentality may not be present on every field, there is a happy medium where advice on tactics and sportsmanship outweighs flashy gear and balls per second.
See my feedback thread here
.. since 2007.
Originally Posted by Ramous
But what it all comes down to is if your having fun. If your not having fun playing against people using full auto with a pump, then switch to a semi; fun is the only thing that really matters in paintball.
Originally Posted by Mstrtal
rub their little faces right in their own piss while yelling NO NO NO as loud as you can while smacking them on the back of the head.