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I was very interested in Anne Collier’s lastest blog post about 3D play shaping the social behaviors of children. So interested I titled this blog post the same. Plus I am a little lazy.
Anne's article discusses freeplay between a bear and a wolf
Here is Anne’s excellent article:
For so long, the cry has been that our youth will grow up not knowing how to have real life relationships because of all the time spent online.
I’ve always subscribed to just the opposite and am so happy to see Anne writing about this. Virtual play gives children a safe spot to practice dealing with bullies, making friends, interacting with authority figures, being responsible for money, etc. Like Anne points out, it is away from the prying eyes of the helicopter parent and children are more willing to push themselves, broaden acceptable risks, in exploring their own social selves. Of course, some of this results in cyberbullying, but most results in a positive sense of self and safe practice in addressing both real life and virtual bullying situations.
I LOVED this project that ended a couple of months ago called eCircus. eCircus – Education through Characters with emotional-Intelligence and Role-playing Capabilities that Understand Social interaction.
eCircus used virtual play to assist kids in real social situations
Watch the video and see the positive practice sessions that children that encountered real life bullying sessions encountered. It is a fascinating idea.
I think I remember Jim Bower from Whyville speaking about how we as humans interpret our environment and senses in three dimensions naturally, which is the incredible psychological drawn of virtual reality games, that it plays to our natural senses that no two dimensional website or book has ever been able to touch. Neurons fire in our brains, and virtual play is like a box of sparklers.
Our company does live moderation in children’s virtual worlds. I once added up the hours in my head and came up with close to 75,000 hours logged with these kids online. We see kids doing this naturally every day, and I couldn’t be more on board with harnessing the powerful medium of virtual worlds in shaping our kids’ childhoods, experiences, and social development.