Gaming for democracy in the context of contemporary forms of extremism
The large majority of European youth play video games. Extremist actors have already begun to use this to their advantage, including by producing games of their own. Gamification and games of various types have been recently also included in the work with youth. Yet, with regard to the use and impact of games, prevention is still at a disadvantage, especially considering the degree of entertainment that these products are able to offer.The project GameD breaks new ground by developing an entirely new online game and offering training on its use which not only fulfills educational purposes, but also offers real playing experience.We do this by
- including elements like constraints, goals and rewards, which keep the player interested,
- not having a predetermined script but facilitating story development while playing, and
- by having young people co-create the game.
The GameD project wants to overcome these issues. It aims to develop an innovative game focused on democratic citizenship in the face of extremist and polarizing efforts, reaches out to civil society by rolling out the game to youth workers and pedagogues, and involves young people in its development.Our objectives are:
- Enable youth to recognize and counteract extremist and populist narratives
- Enable youth to co-create a game
- Increase knowledge and skills to deal with different cultures and backgrounds
- Develop common visions of togetherness in the context of globalization and diversity
- Empower youth with regard to their political and social participation based on a healthy understanding of democracy, critical thinking and media literacy and recognizing new avenues for civic engagement outside radicalism and extremism
- Provide innovative tools for youth work and thus increase the reach and impact of youth work
- Train youth workers in online and offline practices related to gaming in the context of promoting tolerance and being on top of digital transformations
The project’s overall result will be the production of an interactive game throughout a participatory development process. This product is expected to substantially innovate the approaches of youth workers to extremism prevention and promoting human rights by providing them a digital product and methodology which is more attractive for their target group, i.e. youth. Not only are video games more in line with the contemporary needs of today’s youth, but the entire game development will use participatory approaches in the context of digital methodologies: young participants will co-create the storylines and design of the game.Moreover, the video game is also an innovative approach for providing a more attractive training programme to youth workers, in comparison to traditional trainings and methods. By doing so, the project is also expected to contribute to the integration of new, digital methods into the daily activities of youth workers, thereby helping organisations to create a more modern, dynamic and professional environment.
The concept of this project combines practice, research and policy to develop an evidence-based, innovative digital product that is attractive to youth education. It combines research on extremism and gamification, current trends among young people in relation to the digital world and youth workers’ experiences in a video game. This can be directly integrated into the working and pedagogical framework of the participating youth organisations, as they are freely available and include concrete guidance on how to use it. The project is expected to have a long-lasting, sustainable impact on European youth and youth work, including stakeholders, to improve their situation and promote participation through the interactive development, training, transfer and dissemination of an innovative online game, including training manuals.