Raising Good Gamers Reveals Collection of New Pro-Social Youth Programs

Raising Good Gamers Unveils Collection of New Pro-Social Youth Programs at the 2021 Games for Change Festival, July 12th – 14th, 2021.

Inaugural Partnership with Cartoon Network to Debut Resources and Targeted PSA to Combat Online Bullying.

Collaboration with TED-Ed Student Talks Program Features Youth Finalists on Creating Pro-Social Video Game Culture.

Raising Good Gamers – an initiative launched by Games for Change and Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine – today unveiled a collection of new pro-social youth programs during the 2021 Games for Change Festival (July 12th-14th, 2021). The programs, which are designed to promote positive change among youths and gaming, include a partnership with Cartoon Network that inspires kids to stop bullying before it starts by creating more positive online gaming communities, a collaboration with the TED-Ed Student Talks program, and a series of youth workshops.

Cartoon Network Partnership

The Raising Good Gamers Initiative brings together youth, educators, researchers, and game industry executives for strategic programming to explore how online play can have safe, inclusive, and equitable spaces. This summer, Raising Good Gamers is partnering with Cartoon Network to support their award-winning pro-social initiative, Stop Bullying: Speak Up. A custom partnership microsite hosted on the Stop Bullying: Speak Up website includes a new bullying prevention PSA, as well as resources for both kids and adults that will help them navigate situations experienced in online game communities. In 2020, results from a “Tweens in Cyberbullying” national survey developed by Cartoon Network and the Cyberbullying Research Center, showed that this age group is most likely to experience online bullying in games.

“Over the last year especially we’ve seen kids stay connected and social through online games, so we wanted to ensure that they had the tools and resources they need to keep it positive,” said Jill King, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Partnerships, WarnerMedia Kids & Family. “Partnering with Raising Good Gamers through our Stop Bullying: Speak Up initiative is the perfect way to promote the importance of creating inclusive gaming spaces that make these online experiences fun for everyone.”

Launched in 2010, Stop Bullying: Speak Up empowers kids to speak up safely and effectively in the face of bullying, while helping them develop greater kindness, caring, and empathy that stops bullying before it starts. Recent partners include PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, the Harvard School of Education’s Making Caring Common Project, and 826 National. To learn more about Stop Bullying: Speak Up visit https://www.cartoonnetwork.com/stop-bullying/.

TED-Ed Student Talks

In addition to the PSA and related educational material for youth and parents, Raising Good Gamers joined forces with TED-Ed to offer 30 high school students an opportunity to participate in a TED-Ed Student Talks program focused on Raising Good Gamers themes. The goal was to empower young people to share their stories on video game culture and highlight the pro-social elements that occur online and in a video game. Five finalists were chosen to receive coaching from the TED-Ed team and are presenting their talks at the 2021 Games for Change Festival. Their talks will also be shared on the TED-Ed Student Talks Channel, the G4C website, and other social media channels.

The student talks feature a wide range of topics, including personal stories about gaming and mental health, how youth envision how games can change the world, the opportunities that coding/computer science present for future careers, and how video games can make youth comfortable with their identity.

Raising Good Gamers Workshops

This year, Raising Good Gamers programming also included a series of nine workshops with middle school students to share their perspectives on video game culture and communities. The workshops ran in partnership with DreamYard, a Bronx-based not-for-profit, from February – April 2021 and consisted of conversations that informed ways to make it safer and more fun to play games with friends online. Raising Good Gamers will use this pilot to inform the development of a curriculum and framework and launch another cohort of students in the Fall of 2021.

Both the Raising Good Gamers TED-Ed Student Talks program and Workshops were made possible by the Susan Crown Exchange through its 2020 Tech and Society Youth Voice Digital Age Challenge.

“It’s been a really exciting year. Raising Good Gamers has made tremendous progress amplifying the needs and voices of a diverse set of youth as they relate to their gaming lives online. We’ll continue to focus on elevating those voices and bringing youth perspectives to the table,” said Katie Salen of the Connected Learning Lab.

“With esteemed partners like Cartoon Network and TED-Ed, as well as our cross-sector Advisory Board, Raising Good Gamers is helping to change the narrative of how young people are experiencing games and making inroads in ensuring that there are safe online spaces for all in games and in-game communities,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change.

Written by
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