Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog
Mobile Gaming Tackles Cyberbullying

Mobile Gaming Tackles Cyberbullying

The world of mobile App gaming is taking a creative approach to anti cyber bullying efforts using avatars as a method to communicate with young people. Pixelberry Studios, creators of the game “High School Story”, have arranged information and education through the story of their game to help players who may be facing issues such as cyberbullying, self-esteem problems and eating disorders. In the game “High School Story”, players build a school facility, populate it with their friends, and participate in social activities and quests where players meet characters that go on “emotional arcs.” The writing required allows the game to serve as a platform for players to engage in dialogue, and includes a FAQ link that will instantly provide players with facts about the issue they’re struggling with. Recently, Pixelberry Studios enlisted the help of the National Eating Disorder Association to take on the tough subject matter and connect players with counselors, should they want help. One of the individuals collaborating partners explained that our culture’s focus on body size means eating-disorder issues are often viewed as taboo; either because they’re seen as shameful, or because they elicit more morbid curiosity than genuine understanding. Pixelberry chief executive officer Oliver Miao said: “We got interested in this issue (eating disorders) because we had players, after our cyberbullying quest, tell us that this is something we should consider writing about.” By highlighting eating disorder behavior along with other scenarios teens face in school, it is the hope of “High School Story” creators that they can reach young people where they feel comfortable and spend most of their time, on the computer. Developing an environment that is safe to talk about anti cyber bullying or eating disorders, issues which involve self-esteem, provide the opportunity to positively impact the facts young people receive on these issues. This is one of the innovative ways a mobile gaming App can contribute to self-reflection and personal growth with thoughtful and honest discussion.
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