“Online games: fascination & risks” (February 2021)

In our modern world, video games play a vital role in the lives of most children & young adults.This project deals with virtual realities, places where people can & want to escape to, multiplayer online role-playing games, simple browser games & other popular phenomena such as Minecraft® & Fortnite® including all their risks but also evaluating their full potential on the basis of what young people can get out of them. e.g. creation of working online communities etc. Online video games can be considered as constant, meaning that only the technology behind them change but the sociopsychological impacts have remained rather unchanged.
The participants get to know & discuss which online games are currently relevant for young people, what those games are about & why young people
enjoy playing them. The amount of time young people spend on video games is an issue often lied about. The questions which are subject of investigation are:

  • Can playing video games generally be considered a waste of time? Do young people perceive their gaming time as a waste?
  • Why are virtual words so desirable, online achievements so rewarding, attention so easily diverted? Should they be encouraged to want to excel at music, arts, sports or other socially more recognized activities instead?
  • Do video games provide young students with an appreciation of skills & knowledge that they wouldn’t get in other of the above-mentioned fields?

Thus, this activity centre around positive aspects of online games. Participants discuss & evaluate chances online games offer, e.g. staying in contact with friends; the creation of social structures (comparable to any club in the real world); organisational skills such as leadership, compromising & scheduling; increased exposure to the English language; international thinking etc. The students discuss ideas how to use people’s innate desire to play towards more educational ideas such as the programming language Scratch®, which is free of charge & designed for educational purposes.

But an important issue will also be video game addiction:

  • When do young people have a problem? What are symptoms of gaming addiction?
  • What caused the addiction?
  • What are measurable detrimental effects to young people’s health & well-being?
  • How can those young people be helped?

Media experts will provide participants with methods on how to identify addiction but also online platforms, links & contacts of information centres. The participants learn about side effects of video game addiction like obligatory subscriptions & micro-transactions that cause extra costs & are being exploited by the video game industry.

As a conclusion the students create “explanatory clips” comprising the aspects mentioned above in a simplified way. They proceed in the same way as done in the previous trainings – with the support of experts. In addition, they are encouraged to create an animation via Scratch® or a self-evaluating tool for young people.