Students: Maria Michela D’Alessandro, Dermot Lyons, Daniele Cardinali, Hoang Nguyen, Ngoc Nguyen.
For the generation born in the era of the internet, being online is inseparable from our daily activities and habits. If you can imagine life without virtual help, you could also imagine a lost generation in crises.
Our work focuses on media linked with educational science. For this purpose, we analyze cases studies on “online games” and also social networks. Since the advent of Facebook, the concept of “gaming” has changed. People share their in-game achievements on social networks to show to their peers that they have won against their Facebook (or Twitter) friends. Gaming has become a part of players’ lives and has a strong influence on players’ ways of thinking and behaving.
Gabe Zichermann believes that gamification can enhance the learning experience, and demonstrates how others can learn from gamers’ approach to carrying out multiple tasks simultaneously. Similarly, ways to improve education are being inspired by game design techniques (see links below).
These new approaches to playing arose when playing together as multiplayers in a gaming environment increasingly was augmented by options for sharing gaming results on social media profiles. This can also work to one’s own detriment: results of your defeats can be shown to the community too. One can communicate via instant messaging or voice-chat, to try to defeat another group of players, or playing alone or against a friend, thus increasing the interactivity of gaming and the social aspect of them.
This phenomena has been demonstrated in a video named “What’s on your mind?” directed by Shaun Higton. It is clear that sometimes people want to share with the world on Facebook in a different way from their real life. The “Like”, “Comment” or “Share” features on Facebook do not necessarily equal real understanding or sharing between people.
“Miss Bimbo” is an online fashion game and a social networking site. Miss Bimbo, the english name for the original french “Ma bimbo”, was in 2006 — the video game targets 12-14 year old girls. Their main tasks are to gain Bimbo Attitude (BA) and IQ points to change Miss Bimbo’s appearance through costumes, hairstyles, or plastic surgery. With “bimbo bucks”, they can make breast enhancements and use diet pills to make their character become the most beautiful bimbo to attract a billionaire boyfriend.
The game has been criticized for not adding any moral values for the teenage girls who play with “Miss Bimbo”, but instead promote an incorrect or misguided awareness of beauty standards, focusing only on superficiality rather than intelligence levels.
In France, where the game first launched, the site has attracted a million users without any advertising effort. After many negative reviews and comments, in 2008 the makers decided to remove the option of purchasing diet pills, and require parents’ approval to register for girls under age 13.
Miss Bimbo is not the only case but one of thousands of online social network games for children and young teens. Such audiences would benefit from education on the pitfalls of taking such games and social networks too seriously when they start using them.