In Cagliari, Associazione Interculturale NUR started a Kasteddu Online project. The project began in September 2022 and revolved around educating young people about using digital apps.
We decided to focus on video games to appeal to enough people of our target age (15-19 years old), besides striving to use video games as a strong medium of our non-formal education practices. The young participants started sharing the same room weekly while playing games and being monitored by youth workers. The latter would check the behaviour of the young participants while playing together on the internet. It was quite an exciting experience since multiple dynamics were analyzed at the same time:
The relationship between the young participants and other players online tended to be toxic.
This was not only noticed while usually playing online games against random players: occasionally, there were organized events, such as a videogame tournament played against a team from Casa de la Juventud in December 2022, handled by youth workers who were constantly updating each other on Zoom. During such events, the team toxicity was apparent; thus, addressing this problem has been a primary focus. Even though the behaviour hasn’t changed much, the participants reported feeling slightly less angry and stressed at the end of their gaming session.
The relationship between the participants had different results depending on the group.
Even if they were in the same room, they would usually communicate using the Discord platform to hear the game from their headphones and communicate simultaneously, including the occasional sick participant who wanted to play from home. Their relationship with each other had a noticeable improvement over the months since some kept seeing one another outside of the activities.
The relationship between the participants and the youth workers was stable over time.
While monitoring, the youth workers taught participants many skills, such as assembling their computers and managing their online streaming while playing by using OBS and Twitch. The young participants’ learnings on these matters were a strong source of their pride and a main appeal that kept them engaged in the project.
The project ended with a youth exchange in Magdeburg called Gamification: Find Your Own Way, which tackled some ethics of gaming, discussed teamwork improvement strategies, and provided some insight into the connection between the digital space and nature’s sustainability.
After the summer, the participants and their parents began asking to start the project again. For this reason, the activities resumed in November 2023.
Author: Fabio Costa
Photos: Associazione Interculturale NUR
Image: Leonardo AI