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Video Games in Youth Work
Year of production: 2021
0:00 [Music] 0:04 my name is eddie quinn 0:06 i work for an organization in ireland 0:08 called camara education ireland 0:10 at the moment we provide training and 0:12 resources to teachers and youth work 0:14 in the area of using technology with 0:16 young people previous to this i worked 0:18 for 0:18 different organizations in the area of 0:20 youth work primarily focusing 0:22 on young people who would be engaging 0:26 on a level of service position that 0:27 would typically be level 0:29 to high level trees or level fours of 0:31 the hardcore model 0:32 these included family support services 0:34 whereby i would support a family as a 0:36 whole 0:36 focusing on child protection or child 0:38 welfare issues and also as a youth 0:40 worker where i would directly engage 0:42 with young people 0:43 who are at a high risk of entering state 0:45 care are would be in state care and 0:48 had the motivation and ability to come 0:49 home the primary 0:51 difficulties that young people would 0:53 have been presenting we 0:54 would be independent living skills 0:56 engagement with the guardi 0:58 or the the police they're known as in 1:01 europe 1:02 um some levels of self-harm are kind of 1:05 self not um dangerous behaviors that 1:08 would lead to poorer outcomes in later 1:10 life 1:11 so my primary focus would have been 1:12 independent living skills 1:15 so i suppose um going back a couple of 1:18 years ago 1:18 maybe five six years ago um we were 1:21 working with a lot of young people who 1:23 were presenting out of nowhere as a as 1:25 just leaving school 1:27 let's say first year second year second 1:28 year of secondary school just deciding 1:31 i'm not going to school anymore for 1:32 various different reasons and for for 1:34 complex reasons we couldn't get to the 1:35 bottom of it 1:36 communication started to break down so 1:38 what i did notice was 1:39 all young people played games like 1:41 minecraft or different games like that 1:43 so i said look 1:44 i'll give it a shot i log on i'll play a 1:46 game with them with the 1:47 with the approach of kind of the very 1:49 much like the men's shed movement here 1:50 in ireland 1:51 that people talk a lot more comfortably 1:53 shoulder to shoulder so when you're 1:54 engaged in an activity communication 1:56 seems to flow a bit much more naturally 1:58 so i played computer games with them we 2:00 got a conversation going 2:01 um and i saw the real value in in 2:05 a computer game being first of all a 2:07 game that happens to have 2:09 maybe more of a visual cue than 2:11 traditional games like sports games or 2:14 board games or anything like that but 2:15 then when you break it down even further 2:17 i recognize that it's nothing more than 2:18 play 2:19 and why why do any of us engage in 2:21 player it's to it's to assess 2:23 the social dynamics and what is 2:25 acceptable what is unacceptable in the 2:27 world 2:27 how do we find our place and how do we 2:29 excel within our with our own 2:31 level of skill set so using our my 2:33 knowledge of we'll say 2:35 play in the dynamic group dynamics and 2:37 this that another i got to 2:39 a common ground with young people 2:41 whereby you can discuss 2:43 subtly you know that it comes down to 2:45 your own skill of certainly discussing 2:47 complex issues such as as long-term 2:50 impact of certain types of behaviors or 2:52 how acceptable is this how acceptable is 2:54 that 2:54 so i suppose i won't dwell on that that 2:56 minecraft was one kind of lovely open 2:58 space where you can create with purpose 3:00 and 3:00 and do a certain level of role-playing 3:02 and give tasks ask for returns and it 3:04 was re it was a really 3:05 positive way to develop a relationship 3:07 so that i could break down that barrier 3:09 of the therapist 3:10 client kind of dynamic but anyway 3:13 that was that was my first foray into it 3:16 we moved on then to look at other games 3:17 i found 3:18 that it was a great topic of community 3:19 of topic of conversation with young 3:21 people 3:21 even even just talking about minecraft 3:23 traditionally quieter kids 3:25 kids that wouldn't shine in terms of i'm 3:27 the sports person 3:28 i'm the very smart person i'm the 3:30 confident one that i can stand out in 3:31 the group even if i have to clue what 3:32 i'm doing 3:33 the quiet one then becomes the expert 3:35 and if you 3:36 seek that and reinforce that you have a 3:39 value then 3:40 you have a you have a particular value 3:42 that isn't maybe valued among some of 3:43 your friends but it's still something 3:44 you can play on 3:45 still your strengths and there's an 3:46 online community an offline community 3:48 that you can engage with that 3:50 computer games quickly become something 3:52 that a young person can be an expert in 3:54 more so than any adult and thankfully 3:57 now 3:57 being the generation that were raised on 3:59 computer games a lot of us 4:00 in our 30s and early 40s or late 20s are 4:03 now also 4:04 very comfortable with computer games and 4:05 the worlds that they create so i suppose 4:07 going from there then we looked at 4:09 with other young people a lot of other 4:10 computer games computer games like 4:12 worlds of 4:12 world of warcraft league of legends call 4:15 of duty all these games that are kind of 4:17 sometimes in the in the media as real 4:19 negative things but 4:20 as a youth worker everything you do with 4:23 a young person 4:24 is is fun engaging exciting or or 4:28 playing all those things but the real 4:29 purpose you're doing is to get the under 4:31 get to the underlying developmental 4:32 needs of a young person so 4:34 whether you're playing a game of 4:35 football with a young person or playing 4:36 a game of among us 4:38 what you're really doing is giving the 4:40 young person opportunity or given them 4:42 permission 4:43 to express what they're feeling at that 4:44 time so whether it's a game of football 4:47 you're experi you're getting them to 4:48 to be physically exerted you know engage 4:51 with people on a team 4:53 be competitive while it's also being 4:54 cooperative like there are three 4:56 different things 4:57 that and i'll move to that that are also 5:00 really prevalent in among us 5:01 so at one time you have to play your own 5:04 game you have to look at your own 5:05 personal development 5:06 you have to look at how you impact on 5:07 the team you have to look at how the 5:08 people around you impact you 5:10 and how you and that team can interact 5:13 to to achieve a wider goal of that team 5:16 and also 5:17 um my third point which i'm after kind 5:19 of forgetting was 5:21 the overall goal of a team and the 5:22 dynamics you operate within that can be 5:24 both be 5:24 or the physical exertion exposed and 5:26 that brings its own benefits to physical 5:27 health mental health and all the rest 5:29 okay um but let's let's look at that 5:32 thing in terms of a computer game so 5:34 really interesting topics have come up 5:35 lately and in my role as a trainer 5:37 where where we talked about violence and 5:39 computer games 5:40 which is first of all it's oh my god 5:42 what are we going to do but but second 5:44 of all 5:44 we do sex education with young people 5:46 all the time 5:47 who the hell wants to talk about sex 5:49 with a young person but it's a really 5:51 important thing relationships um 5:54 attitudes uh the media and how it 5:56 portrays it 5:58 by playing by playing a game that's 6:00 based that has a violent 6:01 element to it like call of duty or or 6:04 anything that involves 6:05 killing each other you get you get an 6:07 opportunity to discuss it with young 6:09 people so we we actually talk to the 6:10 young people it's like 6:11 call of duty let's talk about that like 6:14 yeah you have a kill to death a ratio 6:16 and you respawn and you come back and 6:18 you 6:18 you're compete you're competing with 6:20 other people sometimes as a team based 6:21 competition 6:22 but what about the realities of war 6:24 let's have a chat about that 6:25 let's let's discuss about imagine that 6:27 was in your country 6:28 imagine that was something that you had 6:30 to go off and do do you have any 6:31 relative that had to fight in world war 6:33 ii 6:34 could you talk to them about it what are 6:35 the realities of it do you know when it 6:37 comes down to morals where would you 6:38 stand would you be the person with the 6:40 gun or would you not 6:41 um and then you can actually talk about 6:42 conflict you can talk about the 6:44 motivation 6:45 as to why countries fight you can talk 6:48 about politics and 6:49 young people are incredibly opinionated 6:51 and they have a fantastic insight into 6:53 this 6:53 and a lot of the computer games through 6:55 single-player campaigns 6:57 really delve into these complex things 7:00 that emerge like 7:01 for example i remember having a really 7:02 good conversation with a young person 7:04 about call of duty and one of the 7:06 campaigns so the single player campaign 7:08 and the level of detail they went into 7:11 between the the relationship between the 7:13 soldiers 7:14 how they depended on each other how they 7:16 interacted with each other you know 7:17 their purpose their values their goals 7:19 their 7:20 their lifestyles like some in some cases 7:22 that the only sort 7:23 of of security or or solace that they 7:26 got was memories of their family 7:28 their loyalty to their country so yeah 7:30 you're shooting each other on a computer 7:32 game 7:32 and again that's your football you as a 7:35 youth worker with the young people 7:36 you're working with 7:37 you're digging under the surface and 7:39 you're saying what else is going on in 7:40 that computer game 7:41 you know you also can look at things 7:43 like addiction um 7:45 self-destructive uh habits things like 7:47 well what's playing too much 7:49 do you know at what point are you any 7:51 good at it 7:52 so i'll jump over to another computer 7:54 game now i'll talk about league of 7:55 legends that the most 7:56 well most played computer game in the 7:58 world it's the biggest player base in 8:00 the world 8:00 and it i played it and it frustrates the 8:03 hell out of me 8:03 it is not good for my mental health but 8:05 i'm quite good at it 8:06 so i'm kind of proud of that too okay 8:08 and a lot of young people are incredibly 8:10 skilled at it 8:11 but the the community itself made up of 8:13 millions of players 8:14 has come out with certain language 8:15 language that young people use every day 8:17 and language that adults just don't get 8:19 terms such as flaming going um 8:22 tilted three terms that to a lot of 8:24 people what the hell does that mean 8:26 you know but flaming is is is a state of 8:29 play 8:30 where a player is is venting or being 8:32 angry 8:33 and if they're flaming you know to 8:35 target that player in the game because 8:36 they're not playing at their best 8:37 they're not cam they're not collected 8:39 they're not playing at their best so 8:40 target that person and they'll they'll 8:42 make so many mistakes you'll win 8:43 okay um things like going home is when 8:46 you're doing really well 8:47 and you're doing so well that you're 8:48 ignoring the risks and therefore you 8:50 will mess up and 8:51 long term you've no chance um 8:54 and there's a really good one as well um 8:57 i can't recall it now but anyway 8:58 there's also advanced concepts in league 9:00 of legends that i loved talking about 9:01 with young people 9:02 um it involves tactics within the game 9:04 and you wouldn't believe 9:06 how advanced some tactics go so first of 9:08 all you you play 9:09 as a character and you're against 9:11 another character and both people are 9:12 controlling both these characters 9:14 so there's an element of 9:14 unpredictability so there's a there's an 9:17 awful lot of mental assessment going on 9:18 while you're doing that 9:19 you have to assess what your strengths 9:21 are what their strengths are when is the 9:22 best time to approach different things 9:24 what behavior are they engaging in so 9:26 that i can engage in a behavior that 9:28 i'll come out positively in 9:29 if i come out negatively how do i 9:31 reassess that so i can reach 9:32 i can go in again and like yes it's a 9:34 computer game 9:35 but these are really advanced tactics 9:37 that need to be applied 9:39 not just in society but in their careers 9:41 in their relationships 9:42 in every element of their lives and 9:44 again you're playing a computer game 9:46 and it's the youth workers job to pull 9:48 that learning out and get them to 9:50 understand 9:51 that yeah you're playing the computer 9:53 game and people are saying you're 9:54 spending too much time on it but let's 9:55 talk about the positives that you're 9:56 learning there 9:57 now let's also talk about the influence 9:58 it has on you before the before the 10:00 pandemic we didn't have the resources to 10:02 have a computer room 10:03 or to physically facilitate young people 10:05 coming in to play computer games 10:06 together 10:06 so in the vast majority of times we 10:08 either paid for them to go to a 10:10 to a lan center which would be a center 10:12 that we'd pay to have access to all 10:14 computers and have them played together 10:15 however the vast majority of times it 10:16 was online play using a platform such as 10:19 discord or zoom or 10:20 or google meets or something like that 10:22 and as much as possible 10:24 i would be participating with young 10:26 people i don't believe 10:28 in youth work from a distance um in 10:30 everything in every activity whether 10:32 it's an in-person activity like i used 10:33 to engage in a project whereby we used 10:35 to bring 10:36 14 young people who are engaging really 10:37 high risk away to an outdoor adventure 10:39 center every 10:40 once a week for a full year to do 10:42 development work with them 10:43 um and you you quickly see the 10:46 difference between really effective 10:47 youth workers and youth workers that are 10:49 there maybe not by choice 10:50 um often you sit with the young people 10:53 on the right you engage in conversation 10:54 with them just like you you are their 10:56 equal for all intents and purposes 10:57 you are privileged to be there to be 11:00 paid to be there 11:01 to encourage some element of learning 11:03 and development 11:04 so in my eyes like there's a big 11:06 movement well there was a couple years 11:08 ago in ireland for youth participation 11:10 and i found it pretty funny to be honest 11:12 because i found the biggest challenge 11:14 for a lot of youth work was staff 11:16 participation 11:17 when you ask a young person to engage in 11:19 something you have to be willing to 11:20 engage in it as well 11:21 whether you're comfortable with it or 11:22 not and in my in my experience young 11:25 people are incredibly forgiving 11:26 if you engage in something that you're 11:28 used to whether it's a game of football 11:30 or a computer game they'll be absolutely 11:32 willing if you have the right attitude 11:34 and respect for what you're doing they 11:36 will accommodate you as much as possible 11:38 so to answer your question in a long way 11:41 i would have been playing with them as 11:42 often as possible now that's not to say 11:44 that i wouldn't stand back 11:45 on some occasions just to kind of 11:47 appreciate the dynamic that's going on a 11:49 lot 11:50 but i found that if i was in the 11:51 situation with them i was able to 11:52 influence a lot quicker i suppose 11:55 the best example i ever had with that 11:56 was was recently even with among us 11:59 so i would have been delivering training 12:03 for youth workers on how to how to play 12:06 essentially 12:06 um among us and whilst i was delivered 12:10 i'd be given 12:11 not advice but suggestions as to how you 12:13 can 12:14 promote the the participation of quieter 12:16 young people or even curb the 12:18 participation of overpowering young 12:19 people 12:20 and one example would be play as a youth 12:23 worker 12:24 and have them tell you die and have have 12:26 them murder you have them influence you 12:27 have them give out to you 12:29 and learn as you go and you know get 12:31 that horrible abuse 12:32 you know because it's constructive in an 12:34 element to one degree you listen to 12:36 young people interacting with each other 12:37 online and you sound it sounds horrible 12:39 but young people have developed such a 12:40 thick skin and an understanding that 12:42 when you communicate online it's very 12:44 different 12:44 than than the rules that present 12:46 themselves in society 12:48 um and the best way to the best way to 12:50 engage in that and raise that 12:51 that raise that awareness is first of 12:53 all to engage in it 12:54 not just be the corrector not just be 12:56 the police so 12:58 you know you don't actually hurdle the 13:00 abuse back but you take it and you 13:01 reflect on it and then you carry that 13:03 message to the young people online 13:06 [Music]
“Video Games in Youth Work” – an interview with Eddie Quinn, a youth worker from Camara Education Ireland, explores how video games can be a great space to meet young people and pull a lot of meaningful topics just by playing a game together.
This video is part of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Digital Youth Work and it has been created by the Lithuanian National Agency of Erasmus+ Youth in Action in cooperation with the National Agencies of Erasmus+ Youth in Action from Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, and Portugal.
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