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What's appropriate for schools?


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#1 matt

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 11:19 AM

One of the key questions we face when showing Moviestorm in schools is asking them what's appropriate in terms of content. Some of the responses we found were quite surprising, and they vary enormously. It's partly a legislation thing, but mostly it's down to the attitudes of individual schools or teachers.

At one extreme, we found that some schools were not only tolerant of a wide range of content, they actually wanted it. They asked us whether we could supply content based around drug-taking, sex, and street violence - the kind of thing that would get us a guaranteed 18-rating if we released this as a game. These were the schools who wanted to use Moviestorm as part of social education. They believe that by confronting the issues head on, and dealing with them in a mature way, they can help students to understand them.

Near the other end, we have schools who want Moviestorm to be pretty well U-rated, and not have anything even remotely grown-up. No guns, no form of violence, no clothing that's even remotely revealing, not even kissing. Some even went as far as insisting that we should not include non-adult characters because of the risk of it being used to create digital child pornography. These are the schools who are concerned with making sure that they don't do anything even remotely controversial.

Interestingly, we've had both those views (and everything in between) from all levels of schools, from primary through to higher education (age 5-18), and from the UK, the US, and elsewhere.

However, the most extreme views we had came from those who wanted to ensure that Moviestorm would control the type of film that people could make. We had comments such as "How does Moviestorm ensure that ethnic minorities can only be portrayed in a positive light?" "How does your software prevent a student writing a script that contains gender bias?" Or (my personal favourite) "What does Moviestorm do to ensure that users have religious tolerance, as we are a multi-faith school?" We had to explain that it's just a tool, and we can't control what's created with it, particularly not when it comes to the words that are put in the characters' mouths.

So, the issue of "what's appropriate" isn't as cut and dried as it might appear. I'd be very interested to find out what would or would not be appropriate where you are - please say what kind of school and where you're located.
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#2 lucindamc123

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 05:04 PM

Well I agree with you it can vary, except in the case of my kids school district as to what is brought into the school. Personally I do not believe in censorship of any kind. I was raised that way and it sure didn't do me any harm. But intuitively I end up censoring my own children. For instance,we don't let them watch a show like Dexter (well that is because we want to stay alive a little longer lol). Any shows like Law and Order or Criminal Minds upsets my daughter as she thinks the people are real so we don't have those on TV when she is in the room. And of course Californication is out of the question for them to watch. We don't watch it when they are around. They actually don't choose those shows to watch either which is surprising. Everyone has full access cable in their own rooms in our house and 90% of the time my 14 year old daughter is still watching Disney and so is my son who is also 14.

I do know that when my son played SIMS, he used to make everyone a super hero and every house had every kind of electronic gadget you can have in SIMS and also lots of gardens. My daughter always has people have a lot of pets, get married and have children.

But I always let them do what they wanted with that game and any other game.

There is a study I read a long time ago and I have not been able to find the source that said violent fairy tales are not bad for children. They allow them to work out different problems children face in childhood. For instance the witch stands for the mother, the monster the father and the child the hero. Because ultimately our own children want to overcome us and our ideals or ideas. It is part of their strive for independence. I know a lot of other people are going to disagree with me on this and say that violent games lead to kids being violent. I do not believe this at all. if that were true then religious games, games and TV shows and movies that instill ideas that lead people to help people and other ideals would also influence them.

They don't. What influences children most is the people around them and how they treat them and act toward each other. It is just an excuse to blame TV or movies or computer games for our own faults as a society and how we treat each other and treat them.

So in that vein, I have not restricted my son's or daughter's access to computer games. I just see what he is doing and what he is working out with them.

And my daughters My Space page and IMVU game is supervised by me. All the computers are downstairs and we are all around when they are using them. We spend 90% of our time with our children. We take them everywhere we go.

And they appreciate that as they get more and more involved with their friends and their families and see what goes on in other people's homes or how their friends talk about the violence and fighting that goes on in their own homes.

Of course now we are never going to be able to get them to move out and all our friends want to live with us too.

#3 bchtchr6

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 06:14 PM

It is interesting to read the comments people are making about the content and censorship. I have been playing with Moviestorm off and on for a few months now and have found no content that they could not see on TV. Yes there are guns, which some could say promotes violence, but it depends on how you use that content that makes it appropriate or inappropriate. If you student writes a story about a robbery it is hard to portray without some type of gun. If they are creating stories where someone just goes around and shoots everyone then you have a whole different problem. It?s not like when someone get?s shot, you see half their brain hanging out of the person and blood all over the place. The school system I work for has a very strict firewall and although it is necessary for some things, I think it restricts what we as teachers can use in our classroom.

If you are looking at building an education version, my suggestion would be to package the content you feel might be questionable in a separate addon and let the teacher choose to add the content or leave it off.


#4 Geiiga

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 08:38 PM

Well, for the school that I went to, violence was okay, but anything that promoted sex outside of marriage, drugs, or said good things about any religion or sect apart from a fairly narrow version of protestant Christianity, was just out. Oh, also, if you suggested evolution was true you could be disciplined.

...I didn't get a very good education.

#5 sisch

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:01 PM

Oh my... admittedly it's a looooong time since I went to school - but even in my time, we had sex education (is that the right term in english?), we talked about drugs and the negative effects, violence... watched movies which addressed these concerns... I know that in german schools today the children are taught how to use a condom, for example - I think as early as age 12 to 14, but might be wrong about that(most likely the wouldn't want that as content for Moviestorm, though laugh.gif ), and there's a lot of talk about how to protect oneself from AIDS.

My guess is that german schools would go for the wide range of content.

#6 drudges

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 12:03 AM

(sisch)
I know that in german schools today the children are taught how to use a condom, for example - I think as early as age 12 to 14, but might be wrong about that(most likely the wouldn't want that as content for Moviestorm, though


lol that tickled me for a while that, could you imagine the videos if that was a content pack!

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