This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

June 10, 2015

"Gaming for Good" to Increase

When Joyce's youngest daughter was a tween-ager and into her teenage years, she took great pleasure in playing the first-person shooter game called Doom¨. Not surprisingly, Joyce was very upset by the effect of this violence on her young daughter. Now, imagine that same enthusiasm for gaming directed toward learning positive social skills and reinforcing good behavior. That's what the "Gaming for Good" Movement is all about.

Positive Games Reinforce Positive Behaviors

Games like Zoo U, a game created to teach kids skills like empathy and cooperation and If, a game designed to build empathy and relationship skills, are changing the way we think about computer gaming and children. And the cool thing is that these games are so well designed that children want to play them again and again.

The Movement Gains Momentum

The idea of using video games to influence development has been gathering strength for a while now. Founded in 2004, the nonprofit organization Games for Change, has been financially supporting selected socially conscious games for years. Moreover, this spring, the organization launched a high-profile event as part of New York City's Tribeca Film Festival. The event featured a "Games for Learning" summit that was co-sponsored by the United States Department of Education.

Gaming for Good will be Big Business

In the meantime, several successful games for good have been released. Developed by the Netherlands' GainPlay Studio, MindLight, has been praised for its engaging experience that helps kids overcome fears and anxieties. Released last November, Zoo U was designed by 3C Institute, a social-skills researcher based in Durham, North Carolina. And in early 2014, If from Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, launched its first "chapter" with more than $6 million USD in backing.

Turning Negative Effects into Positive Ones

Just as we know that some of the misguided youth who played first-person shooter games went on to commit unspeakable acts of violence, so, too, do we know that children who practice positive behaviors in game settings are affected in positive ways to be more empathetic and caring. Additional studies conducted in the United Kingdom and Germany further reinforce these findings.

Expect an Exponential Increase in this Area

Given how the brain works, using video games to teach social skills makes infinite sense. ". . .Outside reinforcement and repetition drive learning, and video games provide ample opportunities for both." We have only begun to see the numerous positive applications for Gaming and Gamification. Everyone just wants to have fun and these games offer ample opportunity.

Special thanks to Newsweek Magazine for their effective coverage of this important topic.

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