Tackling the growing problem of toxicity online, Raising Good Gamers takes a world positive approach to supporting our youngest digital citizens. Bringing together designers, technologists, parents, and educators the project explores ways of developing and sustaining kid-friendly online communities that cultivate empathetic, compassionate, and civically engaged kids.
Multiplayer videogames have become an integral part of children and adolescents’ lives in the Western world: 97% report playing for at least one hour per day in the United
States and the majority of gamers across all age ranges play multiplayer games at least weekly. Research in the social sciences shows that—under the right conditions— gaming with others can have positive social benefits: players can acquire prosocial skills if they are playing games that reward cooperation; and are more likely to be engaged in civic engagement in their everyday life if similar aspects are part of the gaming experience. Multiplayer gaming is however also associated with risks of unmanaged conflicts, such as being the target of anti-social behaviour or ‘griefing’ online. These experiences increase frustration, can reinforce negative gender stereotypes, and limit the learning potential of the online spaces.
Drawing from best practices in conflict resolution, nonviolence, and prevention science the work aims to transform the types of experiences young gamers encounter online, both through the design of online communities and through parent-facing resources. Developing new models for peer mentorship and mediation, is one approach taken, as well as server-side tools designed to enable problem solving and communication between players.