WoW, that’s kiddy citizenship?
What’s this? An article on a mainstream news site proclaiming that gaming will not turn our children into mini Charles Mansons? It’s true! According to a story published at MSNBC, the Pew Internet & American Life Project is discovering that online games are positively affecting our children’s civic experiences. The research doesn’t simply track how much time kids are spending in social games, but it’s delving into what the children are doing with that time.
There are LOADS of awesome youth VW’s out now that are aiming for citizenship & youth role modeling (Club Penguin, Dizzywood -the amazing Scott Arpajian just spoke about this at Virtual World Expo too, Elf Island, Garden Party, Zookazoo, Handipoints Chore Charts, Minyanland, etc etc etc).
I love the fact that people are associating this to entertainment (non-underlying-educational vw’s for youth), and just the online MMO experience in general.
When I joined WoW (which, I must admit, was a relatively short experience, but fun none-the-less), it was funny to watch the good Samaritans of the world help me out as a Noob. This woman player was waiting for freshly born noobs to show up, then she’d whisper “follow me” and proceed to lead us (well, me) through the early stages. I, of course, found this HILARIOUS since I wasn’t there to “battle” or level up- merely to watch the play patterns of the WoW MMO folk. I followed the crazy, yet-well intentioned “whisper” woman around, doing what she told me to do – or failing at it as goofily as possible (yes, I used the word ‘goofily’). She spent like 40 minutes making me follow her around (i kept acting like a confused toddler on a field trip), and then – out of the blue – she says “Good luck, young one” and runs off into the oblivion to help other hopeless noobs. Talk about citizenship.
It’s fun to watch kids in beta worlds help each other out – showing where games are, or items, etc… giving hints and tips. They stick up for each other (or for the under dog) and have a strict sense of what is fair/right (until they get incredibly bored with the same-old, same-old, that tends to be where behaviors change for the… interesting).
There’s going to be a lot of good found in virtual worlds for youth, and I look forward to seeing all the information unfold in the coming months, years, etc. Woot.
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