With the hype about cybersafety and keeping kids safe online, Kate Raynes-Goldie and her team at Atmosphere Industries have devised a new, fun game to encourage critical thinking about Internet privacy.
The game in question, The Watchers, is scheduled for release on May 15, and is a problem solving game for children. It encourages them to develop higher level problem solving and critical thinking about privacy, rather than spilling out a litany of rote learnt facts. It spans across both physical and electronic mediums, and encourages teamwork and collaboration between players.
The process of creation is as interesting as the game itself. Children aged 8-10 in Canada workshopped with Raynes-Goldie and her team to find out what they knew about privacy, what kind of game they wanted and what the game would look like.
It was found that the children were surprisingly in tune with privacy issues, although some concepts were hazy. When asked about gaming safe online, one child had quipped, “online game companies are greedy”. The foundations were already there, but kids needed more dialogue and discussion about Internet privacy.
Then came storyboarding and character design, which the kids had a pretty big say in. Characters include a zombie with a passion for milk and ,definitely not your standard protagonists. The children also didn’t want just another ‘edugame’, they wanted a more immersive experience. In The Watchers, the Internet is not a screen, it’s a ‘hat net’, hidden inside characters’ hats. The process of abstraction takes an ordinary concept and makes it weird, wonderful and special, helping kids experiment with thought processes.
The Watchers is a step in the right direction for Internet education, as many of the audience members agreed.
Replay the event at your leisure, - we've curated everything that happen on the 26th, 27th and 28th April 2012 on the liveblog We'll be providing access to the DigitalBusiness videos and content from w/c 14th May