Given the fact that I've produced a game that is all about bullying as my bachelor's thesis, I'm now more aware of the topic. Even more so given the fact that the game in its current form is still more a proof of concept rather than a proper game. Since I plan to finish and release the game at some point, I keep an eye open for any developments and insights on the field.
It is therefore extremely interesting to stumble on a recent study by Alice E. Marwick and Danah Boyd called The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip, and Bullying in Networked Publics. The authors argue that teenagers are wary to call bullying what it is. Instead, they opt to call it "drama".
Using drama, the teenagers are able not to get pushed into the role of the victim, instead staying above the situation:
Dismissing a conflict that’s really hurting their feelings as drama lets teenagers demonstrate that they don’t care about such petty concerns. They can save face while feeling superior to those tormenting them by dismissing them as desperate for attention. Or, if they’re the instigators, the word drama lets teenagers feel that they’re participating in something innocuous or even funny, rather than having to admit that they’ve hurt someone’s feelings. Drama allows them to distance themselves from painful situations.
Obviously, this does not solve the underlying problem. Bullying still happens, just by another name. Feelings still get hurt, and this needs to be addressed. Yet, it is something that I will have to keep in mind when developing the story further.
Just a very short post, since the media are currently going ape-shit on video games (again ...), and just as it always is, are flinging around more bullshit than actual facts.
The current accusation is that video games cause rape.
The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games.
Of course, it's Fox News claiming this. And the Guardian is cleaning up after them, thankfully:
It is, quite frankly, an astonishing claim – staggering on so many levels, many of us will have had to check it several times to ensure we were reading it correctly. It assumes that sexual violence is on the rise in the US (very difficult to prove for a multitude of reasons), and that games actually contain sexual scenes – which they very rarely do. It is a confident statement, light in ambiguity; if it had been made after rigorous first-hand research by an academic of worldwide standing, it would be actual news. But it wasn't, it was made by the author of Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them and When to Leave Them.
Hours after the news hit, game site Kotaku was barracking Lieberman for her sources and an explanation – which it received. In a sense. Then Game Politics posted a story in which the psychologist claimed she had been slightly misrepresented in the Fox article, but went on to cagily reiterate her argument – that sexually violent games are connected with aggression, and by extension, sexual violence.