For a long time now, video games have been used as a scapegoat by wider society for a variety of undesirable behaviours, attitudes or actions. Kids not done their homework? Blame addictive video games. Increase in crime? Blame violent video games. Guy just punched a dolphin? Blame really weird video games.
So it’s interesting that The Telegraph recently reported video games can help reduce violence and not just cause it, thanks to research conducted by Huddersfield University.
Academics wrote, “The research is clear: when children play aggressive computer games they behave more violently; but when they play more socially conscientious games their behaviour correspondingly improves”.
These findings have led to a new video game – which remains curiously unnamed in the article – to be launched in schools. The Telegraph reported, “The game will be introduced into UK schools in early 2020, to be played by children aged 14-18. It will teach children about how coercive relationships begin, and the negative impact that social media can have.”
The game will be constructed around five 20-minute segments which will be played on consecutive days through the school week.
Dr Gill Kirkup, a researcher on the team, goes in to further detail ”the game is based in a college and starts with a relationship where the boy is 17-18 the girl is 16-17. They quickly fall in love and everything seems fine. What we do over a number of chapters in the game we begin to show some of the subtleties and the grooming process in which coercion, manipulation and control begins to happen. There is some physical abuse. We allow young people to become the main characters, it’s very interactive, they make decisions within the game which have consequences.”
There will be no charge for schools to use the game, which is thanks to the project receiving £4.5 million from the government-backed Global Challenges Research Fund. This money won’t just help fund projects in the UK, it will also go to funding games in China, Uganda, Pakistan and Jamaica, as well as computer equipment for children in schools to play the game on. Each will have a game tailored to the country, looking to address things like child marriage, female genital mutilation and abusive relationships.
Source: The Telegraph