European Union Funds Video Game to Combat LGBTphobic and Racist Bullying

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This child-targeted video game will teach kids all about prejudice bullying.

The European Union funded £22,000 ($29,119) to The University of the West Scotland for a research product to “study the impact of using serious gaming technology in curbing prejudice-based bullying among children” according to PinkNews.

The game, which currently does not have an official name, will target children between ages 10 and 12 to help kids “explore their own prejudiced attitudes and how harmful these can be when they lead to bullying” in the form of “racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia or transphobia.”

UWS said the game will “allow children to immerse themselves in a virtual school environment where prejudice-based bullying occurs and make choices as to how the characters in the story should react.”

On it’s launch in early 2019, the game will be placed on school computers. There will be a large-scale evaluation set for late 2019 throughout European countries.

“Prejudice-based bullying targets the most socially excluded groups of children and is a critical predictor of poor school performance and school drop-out, thereby damaging these children’s future prospects,” said project lead Maria Sapouna, PhD, lecturer in criminology and criminal justice in the School of Media, Culture & Society at UWS.

“Research shows teachers do not always know how to effectively respond to incidents of prejudice-based bullying. We hope this project can fill this gap by developing a new approach that can support teachers to address issues of prejudice and bullying from a young age.”

Mainstream video games have become more LGBT-inclusive over the years. Life simulation game The Sims 4 opened up clothing options to all Sim characters regardless of their gender. Xbox Live has also made all clothing gender neutral.

Role-playing games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Skyrim and Fallout are limited to binary gender options, but allow the player to have same-sex relationships with lesbian, gay and bisexual characters.

Team-based multiplayer online first-person shooter Overwatch revealed playable character Tracer is a lesbian with a partner.

 


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