Virtual Life, The Sims, and Teaching the Future

The Sims Life Stories Exhibition will explore and celebrate some of the iconic art and storylines that gave us advice over and above what teenagers learned behind the bike sheds.
The subjects explored are:
1. Friendship – Dealing with jealousy and arguing
2. Love – Exploring everything from boyfriends to broken hearts via flirting and cheating’
3. Appearance / Fashion– dressing up, weight loss and gain and general self esteem
4. School to Jobs – Growing up and taking on responsibility’
5. Family – sibling rivalry and parents
“The art of teen advice has evolved through the decades and the exhibition will give a unique insight into wider social awareness around the identity, image, aspirations and social constructs as teen life has grown,” says EA.
The Sims Life Stories Exhibition will culminate in exploring how dilemmas are resolved in the virtual era following the romantic plot and issues faced by Riley Harlow, star of the new game The Sims Life Stories, as she moves through each of the exhibition’s themes. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to trial what they have learned from the exhibition on Riley via laptops and see whether they have more of a sober 1950s outlook, wild 1980s viewpoint or liberated ‘noughties’ approach.

Gameplanet – News – Teen angst art exhibition alongside Sims Life Stories launch

Hey, this is actually a really interesting approach to tween/teen issues that generally get filed under the “live and learn” category in life (you know, the ones kids are expected to figure out themselves… usually ending in some sort of needed therapy).

We seem to going through that “everything you need to know, you learn from the media” phase as a culture. Parents expect teachers to instill ethics and a moral compass in their child (I’m sorry, but parents should feel responsible for their kid if he/she is a cyberbully…, stop blaming the schools!). Granted, teachers should present ideas of morality & ethics within their teachings (or at least I hope they would).

It’s like this: We expect teachers to give the facts about religion. Right? This is what Buddhism is, this is Christianity, this is Islam– all like history lessons & facts. But do we expect teachers to actually TEACH Buddhism to their students– “Today, class, you MUST adhere to these particular beliefs.” No. If you want your student to learn about Catholics, you send them to a Catholic school… otherwise, religion remains unbiased, a historical perpsective of community choices, etc.

Ethics should be the same. Teachers should teach ethics as facts, and expect that parents are seeding their offspring with the heart of morality from home. Of course there are always rules & regulations within the class that expect a student to adhere to some sort of morality level. Teachers teach “why” and parents teach “because”– Because this is who we are as a family, because this is who you are for being of our blood, etc.

Anyway, now i’ve rambled off topic. Basically, if we’re going to expect media to take on a heavy load of responsibility these days for the youth of our culture, then to see the Sims tackle such tween/teen-specific life lessons is a nod in the right direction.

Teen angst will never go away. It shouldn’t go away– it’s the wretched inner turmoil that sorts out a person’s knowledge of who they are, why they do things, and what it means to have feelings/emotions/and a voice. HOWEVER, to have a media outlit that reminds them that it’s “Okay” that they’re feeling angsty, AND have storylines play out… that’s pretty darn cool.

Now, as always, the question is: will they take the bait and listen/watch/play/allow media to respond to their lonely/insecure angst?

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