Is our smartphone addiction damaging our children? | Rowan Davies | Opinion | The Guardian

Research has found a link between ‘technoference’ and poor child behaviour. The need for light relief is very human, but perhaps we can find a happier balance

Fuente: Is our smartphone addiction damaging our children? | Rowan Davies | Opinion | The Guardian

Gaming: don’t think it’s all bad for kids. It can be a step to a creative future | Technology | The Guardian

Gaming: don’t think it’s all bad for kids. It can be a step to a creative future | Technology | The Guardian.

The journey from playing to designing and making games can be a short one, and brings rich educational rewards for children

Project Spark
An image from Project Spark, a program that can be used to design and make games.

Despite their ubiquity, despite the vast sales and the increasing calls for the medium to be recognised as an artform, video games – that most obviously visual of media – still have an image problem. And it is more than superficial, it goes to the heart of the home, where concerned parents worry about the deleterious effect on their sons and daughters. However, while the evils of gaming rhetoric may make the most noise, parents who have fears may be intrigued to know that it is not the only story in town.

Children themselves are now refuting the stereotype that gaming is a mindless, pointless hobby, as the flexibility of the medium allows them to grow from player to creator. And the game-makers agree: “Games as a medium always involve creativity on the player’s part,” says Benjamin Donoghue, creative director at Blackstaff Games. “Creativity is about exploring what you can do within a defined set of rules.” Blackstaff is currently working on DogBiscuit: The Quest for Crayons, a drawing game for mobile devices in which the player designs parts of the game world.

Violence, video games and fun – a beginners' guide for parents | Technology |

Violence, video games and fun – a beginners’ guide for parents | Technology |

The Guardian Games’ session at Camp Bestival this weekend explained some of the benefits and ground rules of video games for mystified parents

Camp Bestival performers
Not Keith Stuart and Jemima Kiss talking to Camp Bestival parents about video games Photograph: Caitlin Mogridge/Redferns via Getty Images

A festival is not a natural place to think about video games. At Camp Bestival this weekend, the sun was out, the crowds were swarming between stages; there were circus acts, acoustic sets, storytelling sessions for children. Everybody was enjoying being outside, surrounded by friends, music and the Dorset countryside – there were very few screens, apart from at the Skylanders Trap Team promotional area which drew excited kids and wary parents, mumbling to each other that they’d wanted to escape that kind of thing …

But for an hour on Sunday, in front of a surprisingly large audience at the Guardian’s tent, I talked about video games on stage with Jemima Kiss. What we wanted to do was place games in a cultural context to show how they’ve evolved, what they have to offer and why the newspaper covers them. We wanted to show that games have a place at this table.

The history of games

Sometimes people are surprised by just how long these things have been around – since 1958, in fact – so we started there. The sports sim Tennis for Two was programmed on an ancient analog computer by William Higinbotham at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. It ran on an oscilloscope screen.

From here, our talk took in landmark titles in the history of games as an industry; from Pong through to Candy Crush Saga. There was Space Invaders, which popularised the shoot-em-up genre and introduced reactive sound, the looping four-note background music speeding up as the alien invaders neared your ship. We considered Pac-Man, one of the first marketable game protagonists, which introduced the idea of merchandising to the sector.

We talked about Tetris and its perfection of “tidying up” as a game mechanic, and Street Fighter 2, and the way an error in the game’s character animation had the unexpected benefit of revolutionising the fighting game genre. Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, also figured, the former for kickstarting the open-world action adventure, the latter for, well, becoming the biggest entertainment franchise in the world.

Games and violence

Aware that there were lots of parents in the audience, we wanted to talk about violence. A myth I still encounter from non-players is that most games are about shooting and graphically depicted death. Actually, although shooting obviously remains a vital game mechanic, 75% of games released during 2013 were suitable for children under 16, and less than 10% were rated 18. However, we were keen to emphasise that 18 means 18; it’s not a casual suggestion, titles with this rating are absolutely unsuitable for children. Games aren’t a bogeyman but parents have a role in ensuring that children are protected from graphic violence. That’s a message people don’t often want to hear.

As for the long-term link between game and real-world violence – after 30 years of interrogation, none has been scientifically established. Research into the matter is often limited (and, arguably, flawed) in its methodology and focus; short term spikes in aggression can be given undue prominence, while meaningful studies are often misrepresented by tabloid newspapers looking for something easy to blame the latest gun tragedy on. It is impossible to apportion specific blame when violence happens – myriad socio-cultural influences are involved.

La nueva tendencia de agredirse anónimamente en internet – El Mostrador

La nueva tendencia de agredirse anónimamente en internet – El Mostrador.

Con frecuencia se cree que los insultos proferidos en redes sociales contra una persona son publicados por extraños. Pero se ha descubierto una práctica reciente en que la víctima también es la perpetradora. ¿De qué se trata?


Una nueva tendencia en las redes tiene preocupados a padres y expertos: muchos jóvenes están publicando insultos contra sí mismos en internet aprovechando el anonimato del ciberespacio. Pero, ¿por qué lo hacen?

Informes recientes revelan que el trolling, una práctica que consiste en agredir con comentarios ofensivos a una persona en internet, es un fenómeno en aumento. Cuando las personas sufren abusos y amenazas en las redes sociales, se asume que provienen de un extraño, pero no siempre es el caso.

Según expertos en cultura informática y organizaciones no gubernamentales que se dedican al tema, el acoso cibernético infligido por la misma persona es parte de un problema que está empezando a surgir y que algunos llaman “hacerse daño digitalmente” (una traducción del inglés cyber self-harm o también self-trolling).

Las estadísticas de prevalencia son difíciles de obtener: hasta el momento sólo existe un estudio relevante al respecto. El Centro de Disminución de la Agresión de Massachusetts (MARC, por sus siglas en inglés) descubrió que de los 617 estudiantes que entrevistó, 9% había hecho alguna forma de self-trolling.