Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK agency dedicated to surveillance and other hush hush top-secret stuff has released its own Android app to teach secondary school students about cryptography. The app is "free and fun," though it is from the same agency known for cooperating the National Security Agency in a number of surveillance and spying programs around the world.
A new study by Stetson University Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology (and researcher) Christopher Ferguson shows that there's no correlation between buying and consuming violent media and real-world violence. The research comes from a two part study that compares violent video game and movie consumption with statistics on homicide.
The University of New Hampshire's Prevention Innovations, a research and training unit that creates programs to "reduce sexual violence on college campuses," is creating a game to support "bystander intervention strategies." The project aims to create an interactive simulation video game (or ISVG) for web-based and mobile platforms. It is being funded by a two-year, $579,301 grant from the National Institute of Justice.
Mother Jones officially owns the dubious distinction of publishing one of the most ridiculous articles about #GamerGate - the social media movement about "ethics in games journalism" (or about gender politics, depending on whom you ask) - to-date.
New research coming out of Australia suggest that playing active video games or banning traditional games outright does not help children who live sedentary lifestyles. Traditional and active play games make little difference to how physically active children are throughout the day, says Professor Leon Straker from Curtin University's School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science.
The Sims 4 modders are certainly proving to be a creative bunch, allowing players to do everything from filling in gameplay holes to adding new features into the game. Of course, sometimes people make mods to allow the game to do things that are a little bit questionable, as highlighted in this Kotaku report.
President Barack Obama will announce a nationwide public service campaign that urges young people to do more to help prevent sexual assaults on college campuses across the United States, the New York Times reports. The campaign, "It’s on Us,” will utilize celebrities (to be named later) and partner with game publisher Electronic Arts, according to the report.
According to this VentureBeat report, the federal government is beginning to crack down on companies that are allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a statement on its blog this week announcing a $450,000 settlement with Yelp for collecting the personal information (names and other personal identifiers) of children in violation of COPPA.
If you know what an NES is then you are probably pretty old. The 31-year-old system was the subject of the latest episode of The Fine Bros' popular YouTube series, "Teens React." The new video, "Teens React to NES," features Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams and other teens trying to figure out what the little gray box was. Some thought it was a VCR, despite the actual name of the product prominently written in red on the front of the system.
This Local.se report details the story of a Swedish father who is taking a little bit of heat from other parents for taking his two young sons on a trip to occupied Israel and Palestine in order to teach them about the realities of war. Yes, video games -- specifically Call of Duty -- is part of this story. Carl-Magnus Helgegren is a journalist, university teacher, and a father of two boys (ages 10 and 11).
The BAFTA Young Game Designers competition has its first female winner: 16 year-old Rhianna Hawkins, who won the Game Concept Award for her concept game, Tomatos Role. The other big winner of this year's honors was 15 year-old Adam Oliver, who won the Game Making Award for AlienX after reaching the final stages of the competition for the third time. Oliver made the final ten for the Game Concept Award in 2010 and 2011.
A new report from Libertarian publication Reason, "Millennials: The Politically Unclaimed Generation" (PDF) finds that a majority of young people it surveyed believe that government is "inefficient, abuses its power, and supports cronyism."
Jennifer Ann’s Group continues to use the medium of video games to promote awareness on the dangers of teen dating violence. Today the nonprofit organization announced the winners of its seventh annual "Life. Love. Game Design Challenge" - as well as the results of its first-ever game jam to create a game that championed its cause of stopping teen violence.
A new study from a team of researchers in Buenos Aires concludes that letting young children play specialized computer games can lead to improved grades in school. A paper detailing the research was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers enlisted the assistance of 111 first graders in Argentina to determine if children who play tailored computer games could demonstrate what is known in the profession as "far transfer" of executive functions to the real world.
San Diego's KGTV has a cool profile of Kristoffer Von Hassel, a five-year-old who discovered a security hole in the Xbox One account login. Kristoffer accidently managed to log in to his father's Xbox One account without knowing the password, according to the news station. He did this simply by entering spaces into the password prompt after failing to punch the right password in the first time.
The head of the Tom Green County, Texas Juvenile Probation Dept. thinks that video games, music, and the general culture of entertainment are influencing children in negative ways. Mark Williams, the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer for Tom Green County, shared his insights into what he believes is influencing kids to break the law recently at the San Angelo Rotary Club. His speech was detailed at length by San Angelo Live.
Cautionary tale #657: drinking too many energy drinks to do anything - in this case to play a marathon session of Call of Duty - can put you in a coma. That is exactly what happened to a 14-year-old Norwegian boy. After drinking four liters of energy drinks he collapsed and was hospitalized with kidney failure. He then slipped into a coma for several days.
Microsoft wants to encourage better behavior in online interactions on Xbox One by handing out rewards to players. While punishing players that engage in racist, sexist, homophobic, or generally unacceptable behavior while playing games online is always an option, Microsoft also wants to add a layer of incentives that might serve as a positive way to get players to behave themselves.
The winners of the National Coalition Against Censorship's ninth annual Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest have been chosen Winners will be flown into New York City for a screening event and an awards ceremony at the New York Film Academy on March 29. This year's theme, "Video Games in the Crosshairs," is of particular interest to those who love games because it asked contestants to make a video dealing with such issues as gaming, violence, virtual reality, and censorship.
The National Coalition Against Censorship let us know that the Youth Free Expression Film Contest 2013 Semifinalists are now online, featuring the work of teen filmmakers that explore video games, gamer culture, and censorship. Judges will select the top three winners on February 25.
YouTube viewers can also participate by "liking" their favorite video, with the "most liked" video being honored with a People's Choice Award.
The United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) watchdog agency has given mobile phone app developers two months to adapt to new in-app purchasing rules that better protect children (and subsequently their credit-card holding parents) from in-game micro-transactions and messaging that generally encourages them to buy things to advance gameplay. The OFT has given developers a deadline of April 1 to make their apps for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android devices comply with new rules.
New research confirms what most parents with young children and the people that market all kinds of things to them already know: that there is a synergy between films, video games, toys, and books. A survey of more than 420,000 British school children found that almost all the most-loved books of 2012 and 2013 also existed as films, apps or video games.
Teens who play high school sports like football that sustain a concussion should avoid texting, homework, and playing video games, according to new research coming out of Boston Children's Hospital.
Researchers say that teen athletes that have suffered a concussion while playing a sport recovered faster when they practiced "cognitive rest."
While tablets seem to be popular with very young children, some pediatricians and other health experts are expressing concerns that these devices may be interfering with early childhood development and may even lead to some children developing attention problems. Of course, the research on all of this is still mostly incomplete because the iPad and other popular devices have not been out long enough to determine what the long-term effects of usage among children really are.
Cultural historian Richard Slotkin talks about Newtown shooter Adam Lanza in a rather lengthy interview with journalist Bill Moyers. The interview touches upon some other topics as well, but a fair bit of it is spent discussing Adam Lanza's behavior, his fascination with guns and violent video games, and his deep study of school shootings dating back to the late 1800's.
Koei Tecmo has introduced spending limits for micro-transactions in its games for those under the age of 20 in Japan. According to Silicon Era, the company will only allow $50 a month to be spent by someone under the age of 15, with the 16-19 year olds being limited to a maximum of $200 a month. No restrictions apply for players 20 years old or older.
Koei Tecmo plans to add these limits in its games in Japan before the year's end. No word on if this policy will be a global one or if it is just specific to Japan.
New research shows that on average kids need an extra 90 seconds to run a mile than kids did way back in 1975. Researchers blame increased body weight, a lack of exercise, and sedentary lifestyles that involve video games, mobile devices, and television. An analysis of studies on 250 million children from around the world finds that they don't run as fast or as far as their parents did when they were young.