Gaming

For the last two classes, we have discussed Gaming. I found it very interesting that while I do not game myself, I understood much of the information being presented. I was able to make clear connections to some of the ideas, terminology and culture references. Part of that is due to my brother being a bit into gaming, my watching of the Big Bang Theory and my reading of Ready Player One (super cool website design by the way!). It probably also helps that I am geeky in the sense that my job revolved around tech so I hear about many things that kids are doing whether I participate directly or not.

Things that struck me during the course conversation was the way that my professor kept the conversation flowing between all of the elements around gaming that many people argue about. Addiction, social acceptance, management of time, gender roles, third place and more. I think all in all we had a good representation of these elements and roles they in the gaming world.

One topic we spent time on was the idea that gaming in the past has been seen as something that teenage boys do in teenage boy bedrooms in the dark. When we looked at old ads for some of the original game consols this was the way it looked. This image is changing with new game advertising. The new ads are showing more adults in social settings with “everyday” lives playing their games. This is sending the message that gaming is for everyone. Some of the games are for “loners” started possibly because in the early years of games only one person could play on a console at a time, but with new server and web-based games, it is possible to be more social online.

Also, the new focus in gaming seems to be on the social aspect. This is where a “third place” comes in. Many games have areas or chat rooms that allow the users to socialize and “hang out” with friends that have within the game. This is where I think many people get “worked up” about gaming is because they do not understand the culture. Instead of trying to understand it they criticize it. This is true of many things in life people who don’t understand something immediately assume the worse.

But like everything, it is about balance. Gaming is no different if your life is gaming all the time, then no that probably isn’t good, if your life is about gaming for a bit of fun or stress release then go for it!

It is also interesting to me that many people are getting into the nostalgia of gaming. They are buying retro games and playing them with friends at home or in third place. They are actually changing the solo isolated relationship that those games had by bringing the games into a more social context. I also wonder if a bit of this is due to people’s willingness to spend long periods of time on one game. If you game in a social context you are possibly less likely to get bored with the game.

I wonder if the games like Settlers, if they did not have the third place like elements, would the users still be playing them? Would the game hold the user’s attention? I found this in Farmville. After a few weeks, I was no longer interested.

 

 

GDPR is it even possible?

Today in my Digital Culture class we discussed the idea of Cultural Lag which is defined as:

a condition of strain or maladjustment produced by the lagging of one of two corelating parts of culture behind the other. (Schneider, 1945)

An example of this would be privacy laws around data protection on the internet being passed years after the founding of the internet. The culture of privacy has lagged behind the culture of the internet.

Governments are trying to fix this lag with laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was purposed in January 2012 (Voss, 2012) but took until 2018 to take effect. In taking 6 years to come into effect the lag has grown between what people and companies have been doing to protect user’s privacy and what the law says they should be doing.

Until 2018 anything that a company did was mostly up to them and their own business ethics. Now everyone is being held to a similar level of account. The questions now are, is the law accurate for the times? Is the law feasible? Is the law accomplishable? I attended a training recently for school leaders and one of the takeaways I had is that teachers need to ask if you can really access what they want to access in the way that they have planned to access it. In other words, will that assessment type actually access the skills, knowledge or understanding that you think it accesses?

I wonder if GDPR is truly able to do what it wants to do in the way it wants to do it or will it end up becoming so unmanageable and unreasonable that companies will be unable to function within the regulations.

I also wonder if GDPR is someone taking away the personal responsibility a user has to protect themselves online. Users have been told for years how their data will be used, but how many of them actually took the time to read the user agreement before clicking “accept”? As a person in a school who is responsible for creating student accounts, I do take the time to read them. Even before GDPR come into action many companies clearly stated how they used data and what data they collected. You simply had to read and make a decision for yourself.

The problem comes when people say but I have to click “agree” to use the service and I “want” the service but I don’t want them doing … with my data. Well, then you don’t use the service. You can’t have it both ways. The company clearly states (yes not always) how they use your data. Your “wants” are not the companies responsibilities.

I have had to tell teachers repeatedly that they can’t have a program/app because it doesn’t meet with guidelines acceptable for use with students. Their response is but it does exactly what we want and we won’t put any personal information in. Sorry but not allowed. And yes sometimes those companies only put restrictions in so that they don’t have to deal with the legal issues, but “thems the breaks”.

I also think that topics like GDPR help give rise to scare tactics. “See there are all of these bad companies out there trying to sell your data and you are going to have trouble with your privacy from this”. Data being sold is not a new issue. My mom receives magazines all of the time that she never ordered. Someone sells her address to a subscription company, they send her a couple of magazines and then a “You’ve had a few copies, now try a subscription” notice or even worse a “Your subscription is about to run out” when she doesn’t even have one notice.

We have all had our phone numbers sold on. These are exactly the type of data problems that the internet has.  Have any laws, rules, or regulations been effective at preventing them?

Yes, it’s annoying and yes there should be accountability but is accountability even possible? And if it isn’t possible what is possible in regards to data protection of personal data?

 

 

Schneider, J. (1945). Cultural Lag: What Is It? American Sociological Review, 10(6), 786-791. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2085849

Voss, W. (2012). Preparing for the Proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation: With or without Amendments. Business Law Today, 1-5. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/businesslawtoday.2012.11.02