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Regardless Of Their Popularity Amongst Youth (ages 6 - 14)
This dissertation endeavors to deeply understand the features of Minecraft servers explicitly created for youth by three studies utilizing combined methods research. Human-Laptop Interaction (HCI) research shows that sandbox-fashion virtual world video games like Minecraft function as interest-driven areas where youth can discover their inventive interests, construct technical experience, and form social connections with friends and close to-friends. Despite their popularity amongst youth (ages 6 - 14), we know little concerning the social and technological options of "in-the-wild" Minecraft servers that current themselves as "child-friendly" or "household-pleasant." The aims of this work are three-fold:1. To investigate the rhetoric of child-/household-friendliness and the socio-technical mechanisms of such servers (Study I: 60 servers), 2. To understand All about minecraft servers and minecraft in general lived experiences of server workers who reasonable on such servers (Research II: 8 youth and 22 moderators), and 3. To explore a design paradigm for technological mechanisms that leverage the strengths of a child-/family-friendly server community while additionally supporting moderators' practices (Research III) I draw from interdisciplinary theories and structure this dissertation around two foremost arguments about child-/household-friendly Minecraft server ecosystems. First, I argue that they are instantiations of play-based affinity networks created by adults that promote opportunities for youth to discover their interests and social connections. Second, I argue that the social and technological mechanisms mirrored in the server guidelines and moderators' practices are characteristic of servers that self-describe as child-/household-pleasant. Research I contributes a taxonomy for understanding server rules and an empirical characterization of three server genres - child-/family-pleasant (n1 = 19); general-household-pleasant (n2 = 20); and common (n3 = 20) in Minecraft. Research II reveals moderators' motivations and socio-technical practices in child-/household-friendly servers. The findings show that grownup moderators encourage youth-led artistic roleplays, assist the pursuits of younger gamers (e.g., Hogwarts virtual world, virtual Pride Day celebrations, and many others.), and supply mentorship to youth moderators on their servers. Study III theorizes the potential for automated prosocial instruments in play-based areas by a Discord Bot called "UCIProsocialBot" inside OhanaCraft, one in every of the child-/family-pleasant server communities. Together, these findings present a set of social and technological features which will substantiate a mannequin for designing child-/household-pleasant on-line playgrounds. This work theorizes that kid-/household-friendly servers can actualize optimistic youth growth when their self-narratives, social practices, and technological mechanisms are aligned with adolescent developmental wants.

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