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Australian youth to learn digital diligence and online safety skills from videogame

Australian youth to learn digital diligence and online safety skills from videogame

Students are being encouraged to play
videogames in the classroom in order to develop skills they need when dealing
with the online world safely.

According to the announcement
made by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, kids should be urged to play The
Lost Summer
, a videogame that will develop their digital
intelligence and online safety skills in the classroom.

The Office
of the eSafety Commissioner
launched a new video game called The Lost
Summer, which immerses players in a futuristic environment. The game is
targeting the 11 to 14-year old market, where they are required to exercise
skills such as critical thinking, empathy, resilience, respect and
responsibility to complete challenges and advance through the game.

81% of the Australian youth between the
ages of 8 and 17 have played online games in the past 12 months according to
recent research from the eSafety Office.

Ms Inman Grant said, “We know that online
gaming is hugely popular among young people.”

She added, “We’ve created a gamified
experience that is engaging and will resonate with young people as they learn
the importance of digital intelligence.”

She furthered, “Unfortunately, the
increasing popularity of online gaming has also given rise to some negative
experiences for young people, particularly in-game bullying.”

More research from the eSafety Office
provides data showing that 17% of those aged 8 to 17, who played multiplayer
games online, were bullied or abused during gameplay.

Ms Inman Grant explained, “Young people are
bound to encounter negative online experiences. It is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’.”

She added, “We need to provide young people
with solution-focused strategies to ensure they can bounce back from tough
situations.”

She said, “The Lost Summer encourages young
people to exercise essential skills like critical thinking, resilience and
empathy, empowering them to be agents of positive change online.”

During the game’s development stages,
hundreds of Australian school children, ranging from different backgrounds,
participated in the user testing. They have contributed unique insights and
helped build a resource that resonates with both students and educators.

An interactive event in Sydney’s west
launched The Lost Summer game, with participation of 60 students from local
high schools.

The Lost Summer is made up of five
chapters, with each focusing on a key area of digital intelligence. These are:

(1)   
Respect – act respectfully
towards others, acknowledging and appreciating that others may have different
points of view, cultures and backgrounds.

(2)   
Critical thinking – think
critically about what you see online and ask questions to identify and analyse
information that may seek to exploit or misinform.

(3)   
Resilience – be resilient and
respond with strength and maturity when risks are encountered online.

(4)   
Responsibility – be responsible
about what you say and do, by engaging positively with others and being
accountable for your behaviour.

(5)   
Empathy – be empathetic to
others and use emotional intelligence to respect opinions, embrace diversity of
opinion and freedom of speech.

Ms Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner
summed up the initiative, “The Lost Summer is a fun and engaging way to get
young Australians thinking about the social and emotional skills they need to
navigate the online world safely.”

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