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IGF 2020 - Day 6 - WS 53 Right to Play? - Online Gaming and Child Rights

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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   >> VINCENT MWANDO:  Welcome.  My name is Vincent Mwando.  So welcome.  And remember the session is governed by UN's ‑‑ just a second.  Just a second.  All right. 
    Wenying, when you join just let me know.  We need an interpreter to just confirm.  If you are around, please let me know.  Thank you.  Welcome, everyone. 

   >> XIUYUN DING:  Okay.  We are testing now.  And when we are okay I will tell you.  Thank you. 

   >> Okay.  Welcome. 

   >> XIUYUN DING:  Thank you.

   >> WENYING SU:  (Off microphone). 

   >> Hello.  Not clear yet.  Not clear yet.  Not clear yet. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Still having issues.  Can you hear me now? 
    (Video).

   >> Please, Wenying, if you can hold the microphone some distance from your mouth. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Can you hear me?  Is it not a good quality audio or you can't hear me at all? 

   >> Now it is better. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Much better? 

   >> Yes. 

   >> WENYING SU:  So can we ‑‑ okay.  We will start.  Okay.  Good afternoon.  Maybe good morning or good evening, depends on which time zone you are in.  We are here at the Workshop No. 53, online gaming and child rights of IGF 2020.  We are here with Chinese panelists Livestreaming from Beijing. 
    And we welcome everyone participating for this workshop.  We have a wonderful, knowledgeable panel today.  And I can't wait to have a lively and interesting discussion. 
    This topic is online gaming and child rights.  We know that online play is major and games share a long history of humankind.  Lead a secluded life, digital technology, to some extent ‑‑ maybe you are an enthusiastic gamer yourself, curious mind.  After all, online games makes multi‑billion businesses, change the way we relax and socialize and brought about a lot of questions we don't have clear answers yet. 
    We have questions as to how to evaluate the impact of online gaming of children.  We hear a lot of discussion about addictive laws, harmful content and sexual views and exploitation and gaming platforms and this terrifies parents.  We are here to dive in to these topics, highlighting a child rights perspective.  Before we start let's watch a short video that we produced so you can get a glimpse of what children and adults think about online gaming.  So the video. 
    (Video).

   >> But, of course, as a parent you want to monitor types of video games.  There are video games that perhaps promote the violence or any other questionable behavior. 

   >> WENYING SU:  That's a very informative discussion.  And we hear a lot of these today. 
    So without further ado let me introduce my panelists.  I will start with the three who are physically here.  First our child representative Yufan Bai, a 13‑year‑old who enjoys writing, painting, gaming.  She also has online chat with 30,000 fans.  Now we have Dr. Jing Sun.  She is here as a renowned game scholar but also happens to serve as the director of the game research center, Perfect World, business segments of games, movies and TVs and educational product.  And then Lanky Zheng, assistant general manager of Tencent which needs no further introduction that knows a thing or two about gaming industry.  We have Amanda Third from the Institute of Culture and Society.  She is an internationally renowned expert in child‑centered participatory research.  Hi, Amanda. 
    And we have Manisha Shelat, digital platforms and strategies.  And she is at the Center for Development and Management and Communication.  Last but not least we have Professor Pete Etchells.  He is a Professor of Psychology at Bath University from UK.  His research looks at the behavior and facts of playing video games. 
    So let's kick off today's discussion with Peter's presentation on gaming addiction which is a very heated topic here in China but also globally.  And one of the top concerns for parents.  So Pete, the floor is yours. 

   >> PETE ETCHELLS:  Good morning, everyone.  Thank you for having me here.  I can't ‑‑ I'm not a cohost at the minute.  So I'm not able to share my slides. 

   >> Just a second. 

   >> PETE ETCHELLS:  Are you able to change that for a second so I can put my slides up? 

   >> Done.  Done.  Just try again. 

   >> PETE ETCHELLS:  Brilliant.  Thank you.  Yes.  That's done the trick.  So I just set these up for everyone.  Wonders of modern technology.  Right.  There we go.  Brilliant.  So yeah.  I just wanted to talk very briefly today and I know we have got a lot of really great speakers and not much time really, but I wanted to talk briefly about the gaming addiction and the science of what we currently understand about it. 
    So I think the first thing to say is that there have been worries about technology going back to at least ancient Greek times and very famously it was ‑‑ the new technology that would stifle free thinking and education was being developed.  And they were talking about books.  As soon as any new technology has come out over the decades and hundreds of years we have seen worries about them.  And there is a whole other talk we can have about that, but we have seen talks about screen time and social media and this worry about whether video games are addictive or not. 

And this came about largely as the World Health Organization announced in 2018 they were including something that is a gaming disorder in ICD 11, the international certification of diseases.  This led to a whole series of stories in the news about games like Fortnight being addictive.  It happened to be a particularly big game at the time.  And that's a scarey thing to hear.  It is scarey to hear that this hobby that lots of people do could be a bad thing.  But there are some problems are research in gaming.  It is useful to know a little bit about the back history of it. 
    World Com gaming addiction has been around as long as gaming has been around.  We usually get doctors and clinicians writing a report for an academic journal where they describe an encounter they had with somebody who came to their clinic exhibiting problems with playing video games.  A classic case in 1981 of a report describing a case of Space Invaders obsession.  These sorts of reports started to spark a small concern that gaming is not a good thing for people.  There are a few cases like this. 

In the late 1990s and early 2000s more research.  More research in this area takes the form of a survey.  You give them questions about gaming and add up a response.  And you get a score between 1 and 100 to make a decision of what sort of score would be high enough to say that that person has a problem with gaming.  That's fine as a starting point. 

Those questionnaires that were originally developed were based on surveys well‑known for addiction, such as gambling or drug addiction.  Some people in the gaming population might exhibit a certain set of criteria or show a certain set of symptoms that you can assume to be gaming addiction because they look like the same sort of symptoms that manifest in other sorts of addictions. 
    Now the problem with that sort of approach is that it is not necessarily the case that gaming addiction if it actually exists looks the same, is something like drug addiction or gambling addiction or another sort of behavioral addiction.  If you use a similar set of questionnaires for both and somebody scores highly on a gaming addiction questionnaire, you might incorrectly conclude that they are addicted to games when, in fact, they are not.  It might be easier to unpack that with an example.  There are lots of criteria whether to decide if somebody is addicted to gaming or not.  Here is a list that the World Health Organization implemented.  Increasing priority giving to gaming to the extent it takes precedent over life interest and daily activities. 

If we were to substitute the word gaming with drugs, probably we would be in agreement that's a reasonable check to make.  If you are using drugs so much that you are not doing other hobbies that you used to enjoy that's a problem.  But the problem with using that criterion for games is that games are a hobby.  If we substituted the word gaming with golfing instead, arguably we wouldn't be as worried. 
    For this sort of reason and other scientists were fairly split when the World Health Organization made these announcements a few years ago.  Some welcomed the idea and argued it was a good thing.  By formally calling this a disorder people who were experiencing genuine harm can get access to treatment, become eligible for insurance and get financial support and things like that.  Other scientists and I include myself in this camp argue that this was perhaps a little bit too premature.  That we don't know enough about gaming addiction, what it looks like for a formal diagnosis to be made. 

One of the arguments that we made is that basing the criteria for gaming disorder on other types of addictions risks missing the symptoms that might be more representative of gaming addiction itself.  And it is the sort of approach that assumes that games are harmful in and of themselves.  But games are by their very nature immersive and interactive hobbies.  The standard criteria for addiction doesn't seem to sit well for a benchmark for harmful engagement.  If we don't have a clear set of criteria for diagnosing gaming addiction it makes it hard to get a good idea of how many people are suffering from.  Lots of studies have been done.  But because they all use different ways of categorizing the problem, the estimates vary quite wildly.  Some studies suggest as much as 46% of the gaming population shows signs of addiction.  Others suggests that the number is as low as 0.2% with the real number somewhere much closer to that 0.2% number.  And that results in lots of problems.  Like we end up potentially misdiagnosing people.  We are treating video games abnormally when in fact, they are not causing any harm.  Or we underdiagnose, we miss the people who do actually have a problem.  All of these things are an issue. 
    So from a scientific point of view the jury is still very much out on whether gaming addiction is an actual thing.  It is worth pointing out that no scientist are saying there aren't some cases where playing video games is having a demonstrably harmful effect on someone's life.  The problem is that we don't have a clear idea yet of who those people are and whether or not it is video games is the causal reason behind any of the negative issues in their life.  So I think there is a risk particularly that if games developers don't understand the psychological affects that playing games could have on their player base they risk walking down a dangerous path. 

Now look at one of those briefly in a moment, but aside from understanding the responsibilities that developers have in the way that they make games I think it is also important that they show a social responsibility in the way they are marketed.  I play a lot of mobile games.  And I very often see adverts during game base.  There is a disconnect here because developers can't market their games as addictive and then get upset when Government policies curb their use. 

One of the most heated debates in centers on the way they are monetized and a lot of developers make their money not from the initial sales of games but in the form of micro transactions.  Loot boxes are outfits that you get for characters.  Some are common and others are much rarer.  And those are the desirable ones.  We have seen studies over the past couple of years, surveys of thousands of gamers asking them about their online gaming habit, whether they buy loot boxes as well as asking them about potentially problematic gambling behaviors.  This study shows paying for loot boxes and levels of problematic gambling.  It doesn't matter how loot boxes are implemented.  There are thousands of ways that you can do that.  As long as you have to pay for them from this day there seems to be a relationship.  This sort of effect is correlation in nature.  It doesn't tell us what causes what.  But in a sense it doesn't matter which way it is.  It is a problem either way.  So either it is the case that loot boxes cause problematic gambling behaviors to start in which case it is sort of a gateway to problematic gambling or it is the case that people who already have problems with gambling are more likely to buy loot boxes in which case games companies might be inadvertently exploiting games to make money.  This is that data from March this year that looked at relationships between loot box buying behaviors and excessive buying and psychological distress. 

The interesting thing here while positive correlations were shown between buying loot boxes and psychological distress the relationship between loot box spending and affect how we feel wasn't as clear‑cut.  Spending showed positive correlations and positive effect as well.  If you look at the ‑‑ this in terms of relationship with problem gambling, people at higher levels of problematic gambling spend more on loot boxes.  But they also spend more on other aspects of video games, nonrandomized game purchases. 

So one suggestion is some gamers who have enough disposable income to comfortably spend on loot boxes also spend more on games because they enjoy doing them.  It is a greater predictor of positive mood.  I know I have run over a couple of minutes.  Should we be worried about gaming addiction?  For a large part, I don't think so.  But we shouldn't give games a free pass.  It is likely in day‑to‑day lives generally we will become addicted to video games.  That doesn't mean that there aren't people out there for whom gaming becomes a big problem, but we don't have a clear idea of who those people are and how many there are. 

One particular problem we need to be aware of at the minute not so much that video games are good or bad but whether specific aspects of video games that need tweaking or not.  Mechanisms in gaming like gambling that have an effect.  The take home here we need to take greater responsibility.  From a scientific perspective, in games development greater social responsibility as well.  I'm going to stop there.  Thank you very much for listening to me. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Thank you, Pete.  I agree with your conclusion and we should be mindful, maybe a little bit worry but don't panic.  And still so much more to learn about this issue in the community, produce more solid evidence and more importantly communicate them effectively so we could guide policy making and industry practices.  So now we mention, we look at connected games is to view it as the new media, a way of storytelling and art form.  In this sense let's hear about how Manisha explores this as an expert on media literacy and communication.  You can start, Manisha.  And please try to limit your presentation within ten minutes.  Manisha? 

   >> MANISHA SHELAT:  Yes.  Can you hear me? 

   >> WENYING SU:  Yes, yes. 

   >> MANISHA SHELAT:  Okay.  Great.  So as Wenying said I am going to bring the media literacy perspective to my talk today.  And I also bring a little bit of the angle, you know, from the part of the world where I'm from and that's India and larger South Asia.  So I should confess that I'm not a gamer.  But I'm a media literacy practitioner and also a scholar of digital cultures of young people.  As part of my work in these areas I have actually witnessed four shifts in how we treat games because when I look at this part of the world and I'm sure it is also true in other parts, is that gaming is not now considered, you know, something that a small group of weird people engage in. 
    It has become very much a part of the larger culture.  And so I believe that if we don't pay attention to these four shifts which have gradually occurred over the last couple of decades, we will still stick to the media literacy approaches which were older and work will not remain relevant anymore. 
    So these four shifts are gaming has now become a serious business.  And by serious business I mean a serious occupation as well as you know from hard core money point of view. 
    The second shift is that parents have changed.  The third shift is the gender gap is reducing but the issue's connected with gender and gaming are not reducing.  Games themselves are changing.  So we have to include a lot of new versions of games and gaming and new game cultures. 
    So I will very briefly touch upon these four shifts and then we will leave the details for the discussion later.  So let's look at some of these numbers.  So if you look here, Asia leads the world in the number of gamers.  And Southeast Asia is the most leading region of the world as far as gaming is concerned.  But even India is among the top ten gaming countries in the world, 365 million users and a good 45% growth in volume. 
    And we also looked at, you know, the projections for global gaming market are really, really huge.  So why we have to pay attention to this is that we have to make sure that, you know, because there is money, so much money in gaming.  There are a lot of vested interest that will also come in.  And then if we want to protect child rights then we have to look at the business angle there. 

The second shift that I was talking about, how parents have changed.  So I ‑‑ if you see these two pictures, one is that of a game called the Blue Whale and the other is PUBCG.  And these two games have given sleepless nights to a large number of parents in India.  So there has always been this reservation about the games being the best of times and games being addictive and having a very serious impact on children.  And parents have bought this completely in India.  As my Wisconsin colleague pointed out that so many of these parents don't even know what gaming is, have never played any game but they have very strong views about how games are harmful to their children. 
    At the same time now we have a new generation of parents who are also entering the field.  And recently I came across this survey which said that 59% of the respondents said they spent roughly the same amount of time playing games and 24% confessed they spend more time playing games online than their children.  It doesn't mean these parents are critical about games or they know what games to choose for their children and what good games do or not negative things that games can do.  Because these parents are playing games means they are game literate.  We have to work with both these groups of parents, parents who are ‑‑ have never played a game and are very worried about gaming and parents who play a lot of games but yet are not media literate. 
    Sorry.  Yes.  Finally, you know, the same survey gives a very, you know, startling data that in India, 88% of the men considered online games to be the best past time.  And I admit this is a small sample, like 1500 adults.  So we can't just buy these findings without a pinch of salt but even other surveys have definitely shown that the gender gap is reducing.  There are more and more women who are active gamers now and then you know that that's the small percent, 61% of the men in this survey are hard gamers.  They would skip sleep, other activities just to play games.  So this graphic here shows data on gaming. 

And finally, the fourth shift is that games themselves are changing.  So earlier we only knew about a few games and like violent, shooting games.  But that has now given way of such a valid landscape.  So there are games for education.  There are games for learning professional skills.  There are advertising games.  A lot of gamification of marketing.  So interactive marketing.  And then there are, of course, games like Avatars and gambling.  And then really serious e‑sports.  So now when we talk about media literacy we have to make sure that we address this entire landscape.  And within that we find out when games benefit and when games are really harmful.  So, for example, as (inaudible) said there is definitely violence, sexualization, gambling.  There are all these risks but not with every games.  These are the four major shifts.  And if I have a couple of minutes I will just talk about what we need to do with parents and children.  And now because games are becoming such a serious part of our culture, media literacy has to also extend to teachers, game designers, media owners and policymakers. 
    But, you know, what is actually needed is a serious dialogue between all these stakeholder groups.  Because a lot of problems are caused because, you know, they think so differently about gamings.  They don't see eye to eye about what games can do, you know, good or bad.  So I think first thing in media literacy is to have a serious dialogue about gaming cultures about all these different stakeholders. 
    So finally I have taken, you know, this very interesting structure of game literacy from a scholar, from VN.  In his 2016 work he gives a very nice structure to address media literacy is that that is learning in games, you know, you can learn a lot of things, like communication skills, develop agency, creativity, technological literacy.  Game design also involves a lot of learning.  And then there is a gamification where games help you learn all different concepts.  So I would leave at this just charting out the whole landscape of media literacy.  And then I think we'll address the details when we discuss this.  Thank you. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Thank you.  Thank you, Manisha.  Excellent time keeping as well.  And very interested about the last slide, four types of learning.  So let me turn to Dr. Jing Sun.  You have translated in to English the book.  It is very fitting for you to share your views next.  Elaborate on how if and gaming can empower children. 

   >> JING SUN:  The presentation or question? 

   >> WENYING SU:  Presentation. 

   >> JING SUN:  Okay.  It is a very honor to participate in this panel.  I'm talking about online games and empower children.  Great.  Thank you.  And my topic today is connecting gaming.  First of all, I want to make a very short ‑‑ can you view my slides there? 
    Okay.  So my talk today is connecting gaming.  How online games empower our children.  And when speaking of children's rights, applying them it is not just only about protecting their rights.  I think we have to teach them how to play games or in other words, literacy and also we have to teach them how to protect themselves.  Thank you. 
    Much better.  Sorry.  Yes.  I think again it was very important.  Quite agree with Manisha's point of view and I want to share my views about this topic.  First of all, I want to share some facts about child online gaming in China because we are living in China.  And we have a huge population of gamers, especially youth, teenagers and preyouth ‑‑ even very young, young generation and also the old generation. 
    So first of all, China, how very huge, very high Internet coverage rate.  You can see more than 90% Internet coverage.  That means a huge majority of Chinese people can play online games in China.  And also they can see very little difference between city and country users. 
    And the second table is Internet participation.  We can see third high activities and online Internet activities in China for Chinese users.  That means we use Internet as their way to play games with their peers, their friends and maybe their family members.  The third table is about motivation.  This table is collected by ‑‑

   >> Hello.  Yes.  Just a second.  Please the mic, please slightly away from the mouth.  Okay.  Sorry, the mic at least some distance from the mouth. 

   >> JING SUN:  Okay.  Can you hear me now? 

   >> Yes, yes.  It is okay. 

   >> JING SUN:  All right.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  And the motivation is mainly about their relationship or social relationship with peers, their classmates and also the social purpose.  So I think in China children's online gaming motivation is basically based on their socialization in the neighborhood, in school and in their family.  And the third table is about time length.  We can see, no matter what days it was, during holidays, children, you know, are almost from 10% to 15% ‑‑ 20% maybe, 20% youth or children they play games for more than two hours which is a little bit wrong.  So if they play video games for this time, for a long time maybe they ‑‑ there are some problems or severe problems.  And just now we see some facts and numbers for Chinese gamers.  And now I want to share some participation or some categories of their gaming activities in this group.  I borrowed this mode from an American scholar called Professor Ito.  And she is a scholar at the University of California.  And her team wrote a book about media literacy and youth and children. 
    So they give us a mode about how children's gaming practice could be interanalyzed or analyzed or described in their daily lives.  First one is killing time.  And most children they play games just for killing time.  They take their games ‑‑ maybe riding the bus.  During this very short time they play games just for fun.  It is a harmless activity.  And the second one is hanging out.  Like they play games with their friends but it is also friendship driven, instead of interest driven.  And their competition's view on friendship and socializing with their peers is that of the game themselves.  And the third activity is recreational gaming.  In this part and we can see friendship driven turns in to ‑‑ becomes interest driven.  So ‑‑ according to their observation users are young males with that of girls based on their graphic research in America.  And also has ‑‑ it is recreational gaming activities or pathway to learn more about media and technology knowledge.  And the first mode is organizing and memorizing.  It is more like institutionalizing or competitive activities.  Just now we have lots of users in China.  And most of them are ‑‑ are in in this group.  And their activities could be capitalized as organizing. 
    In this activity they need more specialized technology and also the knowledge about gaming and they develop very, you know, power, power gaming activities. 
    And the final way it is augmented game play.  What does augmented games play mean?  It refers to activities of, you know, knowledge seeking and cultural production, including modification like cheat and also some kind of creativity ‑‑ creative activities. 
    So you can see children can use games to do lots of things from, you know, ranging from friendship interest activities to interest‑based activities.  And in this economy we see not only about children themselves, it is also about their peers, their parents.  And also their adult takers, also have producers, developers and game companies and also in China it is, especially in China we have a very strong influence from policymakers, from our Government. 
    Now in China I see the absence of this part, academia.  We need a much stronger game research in China right now.  That's why we started our connected game research in December.  We organized lots of activities, like seminars, talking about games.  And bringing the industry through scholar and students, bringing the international scholars and Universities, their institutions to organize ones.  We have also projects like game publications. 
    We offer our, you know, suggestions so some China based think tank and we introduce some good publications about, you know, game literacy, serious games and game analyzing in to China.  And we do some public lectures and also activities, introducing game literacy and help the parents and also the whole Chinese public to improve their game literacy. 
    We want to build a platform and an international community and also we want to produce some outcomes who can benefit to have some people, huge majority of people and have them to know games better.  That's why I bring this concept of connected gaming.  Originally this concept is from Professor Ming from the University of Pennsylvania.  But now I want to broaden this concept.  She uses this concept to describe a situation integrating games making and games playing but now I want to use connected gaming to describe a vision of including four different parts.  The first one is parents and educators.  I think the parents and educators they can follow these four steps.  First one is, you know, to know, to understand games.  Second of all, they have to have help their children to select games and then they need to play with the games better. 

Last they need to set a time limit.  That's for the parents and educators.  Then for producers in China we extremely need diverse products.  We need not only more produce ‑‑ not only ‑‑ more serious games and more educational ones.  We need to have safety for our children, for these young users.  And the final point is about productivity.  We have to develop more games to help them to change the pure entertainment in to creativity and productivity.  Have them to learn from games.  We have to ‑‑ we need more games about learning through playing or learning through, you know ‑‑ through participate, participating in different areas of game activities.  And the third part is about policymakers.  In China, as I said, our Government have a huge influence on the whole gaming ecology.  So I think our Government should, you know, support more funding and supports to game research, including the industrial innovations and also the public game literacy.  And for academia we need more international region plus more focus on China, Chinese contacts.  And also we have to bring region of lifelong education and give our readers more books and publications. 
    Okay.  So that's it.  Thank you. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Thank you, Dr. Sun.  Indeed concerted efforts from our sectors are needed.  And I also want to thank you as a games researcher to bridge knowledge and experience between China and the rest of the world.  And we have here today another industry representative, Lanky Zheng from Tencent.  Let's hear what he can tell us about views and practices about the biggest gaming company. 

   >> LANKY ZHENG:  Hi everyone.  As we all know with the rapid development of video games the impact of games on the development of teenagers has become a pressing issue. 
    Okay.  The increasingly open network environment is becoming a significant social force affecting teenager status, values and future.  As one of the most important achievements of digital technology video games have become the most widest use entertainment mode in this era.  But the society mass psychology is affected.  Teenagers are often the most sensitive group in society.  Growing up with gaming in their generation has positioned games as a unique and stable cultural element in children's lives. 
    By using game‑based interaction to guide teenagers learning and protecting children's right to play in the digital era, we consider the issues that every game company should be thinking about.  In April this year a game called Right Wronger appeared on the home page of the app store.  It is a very horizontal game.  It looks like a little bit of Sharpie alongside the independent games or beautiful commercial apps.  Only when players saw the first game level title, fight for your right to play did they realize it is a real significance of that app. 
    Developed by UNICEF it promotes protection of children's right to play safely.  Mr. Burt Hason of UNICEF pointed out that playing is the best way for young people to understand their rights.  Tencent has done a lot of work for functional play.  We have developed systematic game designs in many fields like traditional culture frontier and exploration and youth care.  We have released more than 20 functional games.  The everlasting recreate, interpret traditional culture.  As a bridge between traditional culture and the teams it forms a new way for inheritance and development of traditional culture. 

Here is another game, Mandarin tongue.  It was recently released.  It is a first charity game with language and culture press under the Minister of education.  This game offers a new learning master and pass for (inaudible) for Mandarin learning. 

As a parallel to space and time of the real world, games present children with an existing way of living reconstruct structure of reality and step across the borders.  According to a report titled Children's Right to Play, coauthored by Stu Lester, the attitudes, damage ‑‑ daily life of disabled children is constantly monitored and cared by adults.  And that greatly affects their participation in game space.  When children's right to physical playing is a hindrance, video games may play a very important role in leading their development and protecting them ‑‑ protecting their rights and interests. 
    Video games can also surmount the constraints of social and economic status, gender, place and time and provide children with more extensive social opportunities.  The simulation of the reality in video games help children to suspend limitations in real world, especially when difficulties that disabled children are facing explore the real world.  They strengthen entertainment and satisfaction.  The protection of children's rights begin to attract the worldwide attention.  In the past century the details of children's rights have continued developing.  In particular the children's rights to play has gradually gained value. 
    Different kinds of efforts have been made to ensure that right.  Tencent games has always existed on improving the system to protect use.  We hope to strengthen guidance.  Enable games to become company to teenagers in their healthy growth. 
    On June 23, the International Telecommunication Union launched new 2020 guidelines on child online protection.  It is a great honor that Tencent games have provided support for the protection of minors in the video game industry to reflect the significant changes of the network environment and digital landscape.  The 2020 child online protection guidelines is designed from the ground up.  The Internet, online games, machine learning and AI are all explained in the guidelines.  Meanwhile the update has also filled a major gap in the support of disabled children.  The Internet world is essential for full social involvement of disabled children. 
    In 2019 Tencent games upgraded its concept to explore more possibilities of the gaming and expand value from angles.  The Tencent interactive ‑‑ entertainment social value research is an integral publication within our company.  Since March last year six issues have been successfully published.  That journal is designed to convey game related cutting edge information, academic research and extensive game values to the industry and to the public. 
    The 2020 functional game industry report shows a model, functional games need solid academic, serious support at Universities and research institutions.  We hope that Tencent games can utilize its huge user base to open a development pass for the functional game industry. 
    Tencent games is actively developing partnerships with Universities, scientific research institutions and other organizations.  For example, Tencent games and Beijing University joined innovation, thinking of gamification this summer aiming to spread game thinking to colleges and Universities and explore its value in education and training.  In addition Tencent games is exclusively supporters of the first backbone teaching class jointly held by the Shanghai science and technology youth institute and Tongji University.  They learn how to apply the game concept and game mechanics to education and teaching training. 

Tencent games was pretty well recognized for creating learning scenarios, stimulating learner's interest, motivating their passion.  Nowadays video games are gradually (cutting out) media and also as an art.  Therefore the information connotations presented in video games may be more widely accessible.  It should be our mission as a game company to benefit as a whole community with some fruits of this new technology. 
    Regarding the development of teenagers, reality of network infringement and network of crimes hinder the realization of right to play.  The key to improve youth online protection is using multi‑stakeholder and child right centered approach.  We must gather strength of all key participants including young people, minors.  Tencent games will always exert great effort to promote the healthy growth of teenagers as a new technology.  Video games are in a child's daily life.  It is important to have a teenager realize how to creatively use the toys of this era.  The maturity of this market, new game technology provides a new perspective for the society to understand video games. 
    As exploration in the fields of medical treatment education and public welfare has begun to bear fruits, video games can be regarded as another way to protect a teenager's right to play.  Maybe that's what video games should mean.  We believe that games can be more than that.  Thank you. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Thank you.  Very interesting introductions.  I have ‑‑ I have actually quite (cutting out) I don't think we have time for that.  We have heard a lot from adults.  Now it is time to let a child speak.  I want to emphasize that Yufan, our child representative initially wrote her presentation in Chinese which is beautifully written but she decided to do it in English to make it easier for the international audience.  Kudos to you, Yufan.  And you may start. 

   >> YUFAN BAI:  Yes.  Gaming is part of my life.  I was once asked by my mom what does gaming mean to me.  It was a scarey question.  Does that mean I'm not allowed to play games anymore.  Gaming means a lot to me.  I really don't want games to go away in my life.  So I saw the browser question, what does gaming really mean to me.  I feel gaming is not as many other things.  They take it as a bad thing.  In their eyes gaming means two things.  First spend money and you will win.  In this kind of game you buy powerful equipment, weapons and skins.  Then you have a big advantage in the fight.  With the golden equipment, you can win every game and without money to top off.  You have great skills.  You will still lose.  In such a game your IQ and skills are of no or little value.  Only money matters.  There are games like these and many people play them.  However, I don't like them.  And I feel those people do not get to experience real interesting and fun games. 
    Second, games are easy to win.  You do some very simple stuff and gain a huge sense of achievement.  This kind of game will keep offering you new levels to encourage you to go on playing, to lose yourself in it, to sit in front of an iPad for five hours.  I have to say many games are like that.  This kind of game that can remind you that you have no achievement in life and only in games you can get things done.  Let people find the joy of achievement that they don't find in real life.  For example, gaming gives you a chance to find the real fun in making friends.  Gaming is a social topic.  When you get in to new schools with nobody you know, you can talk about your favorite games.  If someone happens to have the same like as you it gives you an opening. 

I enjoy talking about games same as my parents enjoy talking about dramas and shows.  On the other hand, gaming is a way of spending time with my friends.  Parents do if by sharing a feel, singing Karaoke and going to concerts.  For me I play video games with my friends.  We have big fun together.  Playing online while chatting and working together to defeat the enemy and discussing tactics.  Those are my social life.  Also gaming is a part of my cultural life.  I love musical games.  Notes are dropping down one by one on the screen.  You have to hit it right to make the right song.  And you tap the notes as if you were playing music.  I don't think there are any difference from Einstein playing violin after he did his science project.  We all enjoy music and don't have to take the great exam. 
    Another of my favorite game is Sky Children of Light.  In this game you can play instruments.  When someone is playing music, others will listen.  You can play a concert where everyone plays the same score with different instruments which is very exciting. 
    There are other games with plots.  The stories and characters are the same of those of movies, but the story will develop adhering to the player's mode to reach different endings.  My father said that ‑‑ this kind of game was like the best from the drama in the University theater.  We would finish the game, as if like having watched a movie or TV show.  You have a role in the game.  I believe the game is a great way for me to relax.  Same as parents watching a movie, reading a novel or playing bridge or going to the art gallery. 
    In the game we are as nervous as you watch a movie.  There are many amazing props and instruments as well as nice surroundings.  And the most interesting things you can be a part of it for yourself.  There are so many possibilities in the games. 
    I hope adults could not forbid kids playing games when they don't want to understand what games can be.  We have to correct one misunderstanding that games are designed for bad, lazy, stupid ones and target all the weakness of the human nature.  No, games are not like that. 
    It is for ‑‑ it is for everyone.  Those who enjoy friendships and art.  We should encourage people to play more games, different kind of games.  We should let them know that gaming is not only for killing time.  Not only for win.  It is for drive, for fun.  Thank you. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Thank you so much, Yufan, for this inspiring and honest sharing of your experience with games.  I dare say it shows a great deal of gaming literacy that we just talked about, a lot combined with good parenting children can benefit from good quality connected games. 
    So Amanda, I'm curious what you think about Yufan's story and beyond that what insights you have on this topic from years of working with children on their digital use. 

   >> AMANDA THIRD:  Thanks.  It is really great to hear Yufan speak like that from the heart about her experiences.  I thought what a lovely job she did of walking us through all the different feelings that she has about it and the different kinds of things that people say to her about her gaming practices.  And yes, thank you, Yufan.  That was wonderful. 
    And thank you, too, to UNICEF China and the China Federation of Internet Societies.  I am going to talk about child's rights and online gaming.  Children say around the world they use the Internet for communication, connection and sharing followed by information seeking and play, leisure and relaxation. 
    And they say these things are critical to their well‑being and enabling them to realize their rights in the digital environment.  So play in online settings as we have just heard from Yufan for children is among the most important benefits that children derive from their use of digital technology.  Children's online play enables them to develop important skills and decision making outcomes.  In online games they use literacy, numeracy, critical thinking and many other skills to solve problems or to strategize.  But children also enjoy games which is important and the end outcome in itself because that supports their well‑being. 

At the same time children's online gaming can expose them to a range of risks.  While the challenges of excessive gaming often pre‑occupy those who govern online gaming, there are a range of others pressing risks of harm that need to be mitigated in order to ensure that children can maximize the benefits of online gaming. 
    For example, as Sonia Livingston notes children often gain heavily commercialized and underregulated digital spaces, exposing them to forms of economic exploitation, and I was thinking here as Pete was earlier of loot boxes, gambling, advertising, as well as the harvesting of their data by third parties for purposes that don't always benefit the child.  Many children are participating in gaming platforms that are not designed specifically for children, which, of course, raises a series of questions about the extent to which they might be exposed to inappropriate content, practices and relationships with others, and whether they have the skills and capacities to deal with these risks of harm. 
    Of course, cyber bullying is known to be a problem on some gaming platforms.  And there are concerns that some gaming culturing reproduce forms of toxic masculinity.  How can we approach governance in this domain?  I'm going to highlight some ways that rights‑based approach can support the governance of online gaming.  The Convention on the Rights of a Child and the supporting mechanisms for interpreting the Convention are really important tools in guiding our decision making when it comes to governance of online gaming. 
    So the Convention stipulates rights of all children under the age of 18.  And it was signed in 1989 and it is the most widely ratified Treaty in the history of Human Rights Treaties. 
    The obligations ‑‑ it also spells out the obligations of duty bearers to achieve those rights for children.  And it provides a readymade and very robust framework for ensuring that governance can best support and enable children's rights.  There are three dimensions of children's right as laid out in the Convention.  They are provision, participation and protection. 
    These dimensions of children's rights must be carefully balanced as we think about how to address the governance challenges of online gaming.  It is widely acknowledged that online gaming may simultaneously infringe and support children's rights.  Online gaming perhaps most obviously impacts children's right to protection from harm, but also, of course, and importantly their right to rest, leisure and play.  But remembering that the digital environment is complex, there is much more at stake than these two rights. 
    Indeed, online gaming potentially impacts a very wide range of children's rights both positively and negatively and some of these are on your screen now. 
    But what governance efforts have to remember is the divisibility of children's right.  There is no hierarchy of rights.  Children's rights must be progressively realized in combination.  So we can't prioritize one over the other. 
    And I think this is very important in terms of thinking about how we approach governance wholistically, trying to think about all the different possibilities and threats for children's rights. 
    The Convention has four guiding principles; the right to nondiscrimination, the best interests of the child, the right to survival and development and the right to participation.  And additionally the Convention acknowledges children's so‑called evolving capacities.  This idea of protection of and guidance of the child must transform as she develops and grows. 
    So online gaming may influence the rights of different children uniquely in accordance with factors such as age, gender, geography, ability, culture, socioeconomic standing, or their level of exposure to the digital. 
    Children are not as much in this category.  Their experiences are shaped very deeply by the context in which they live.  Meaning they have different levels of access and they use technology in different ways. 
    More than that, children's experiences of online play differ according to their gender.  Boys as we have heard already today tend to play more of a particular kind of game online than girls.  And it is vital that we pay attention to this diversity to be able to act in children's best interests.  Indeed the Convention specifies or makes a particular provision for children with diverse needs. 
    Further, children of different ages use digital technology to play in a wide variety of ways according to their developmental stage.  Play tends to be highly repetitive in children's early years.  And it broadens out and diversifies as they grow older.  Indeed interpreting the Convention on the Rights of the Child for governance of online gaming can help guide us in thinking how to appropriately support children's evolving capacity, the ways they grow and change over time and the consequences of this for their rights. 
    The stereotype of the teenage gaming addict tends to dominate our thinking in policy and programming about online gaming.  As Pete just indicated earlier, for a small minority of children compulsive gaming can be a threat to their safety and well‑being.  For a majority of children it does not seem to be a key issue.  Some games do aim to keep children engaged, to compel them and we do need to regulate and make sure that these practices are ethical. 
    And indeed I think we need to remember, too, as Yufan just said that one of the real ‑‑ the things that children find most compelling about gaming online is their relationships with other children.  This is one of the spaces where children connect with each other in a world where often a lot of the spaces for them to connect have closed down.  
    At the same time though, I think one thing we need to remember is that children around the world have told us that the adults in their lives, parents in particular, but also teachers, Governments and others don't always according to children understand the value that digital technology has for the sense of play and meanings and pleasures that children derive from their online play. 
    Indeed in the most recent consultations that I have conducted they are calling on the adults in their lives to listen more carefully to their experiences, to really understand how and why children find meaning in online gaming. 
    And if we don't pay attention what we do is we risk stigmatizing and even criminalizing and certainly medicalizing as Pete gestured earlier at children's online gaming practices. 
    So we also need good, strong evidence‑based approaches.  There is a wealth of good research on children as online gaming and new research is emerging all the time.  I would point to the newly established digital futures in the UK which prioritizes play as one of the its key foci.  And I think it is lovely examples of the way that we might do evidence driven policy and practice. 
    But it is also true that to date a lot of the research again as Pete just gestured is not conclusive.  There is a strong need for further research that's driven by child rights approaches to inform the decisions that we make to support children's rights. 
    I think we also need to think carefully about what mechanisms of governance we can apply in order to build in safety in children's ‑‑ in the games that children use.  And a good example here is Legos approach.  While we can't always anticipate with certainty all of the affects that different children might experience in relation to online play.  We can ensure that minimum safety standards are built in to the games and the communities with which children interact.  Safety by design which was pioneered by the Australian office of the e‑safety commissioner lays out principles to guide developers whether small startups or multi‑national companies to embed safety tools.  We have enforceable standards around the children's data via gaming platforms.  And standards that acknowledge and protect children's rights. 

The way forward for governance in relation to online gaming is not entirely clear and needs to better channel high quality research, including research that consults with children.  Yufan has really illustrated if we listen to children they have very important things to say.  The Convention provides us with a tool for ‑‑ for achieving the aims of embedding children's rights in those online gaming spaces. 
    And beyond the Convention itself, of course, there is a series of general comments that guide the interpretation of the Convention.  I would point to the one on children's right to play, but also the forthcoming general comment on children's right in the digital environment.  These documents provide evidence‑based and principle guidance that can support states, NGOs, private enterprise and many other people with investments in these issues  to ensure that governance in relation to online gaming is informed by a rights‑based approach. 
    Together this collection of tools provides us with a strong way of navigating the challenges to children's rights and supporting children to maximize online gaming for realizing their full range of rights.  Thank you. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Thank you, Amanda.  Thank you for this very comprehensive unpacking of the relationship between child rights and online gaming.  We have probably another 15 minutes.  And we also have some questions.  But the time is very limited.  So I would just summarize some of the questions.  And the first one I think it is ‑‑ it is a bit broad.  But we will ask you to answer from your own different diverse perspective. 
    Many of you mentioned that all sectors, we all have a role to play.  But no one can deny that the gaming industry, the gaming companies have probably a bigger and most important role to play in terms to really fulfilling child rights.  And so I'd like to ask you to give a very short, one or two sentence answer about what do you think, what's the top priority, the one thing you want to see gaming companies do.  Probably start with our panelists virtually joining us. 
   Amanda, I will start with you.  One or two sentences. 

   >> AMANDA THIRD:  I think safety by design, or rights by design is what I would like to see ultimately to really see gaming companies pick up this idea that we embed children's rights at the very heart of gaming platforms.  That would be my tweet length response. 

   >> WENYING SU:  How do we do that?  It seems very ideal vision.  But one thing you want to ‑‑ the gaming company to do right now to reach that goal? 

   >> AMANDA THIRD:  Oh.  Yes.  So there is a toolkit that is available via the e‑safety commissioner's website which lays out how to implement a safety by design approach.  That would be my one wish is that gaming companies would pick that up.  Is that precise enough? 

   >> WENYING SU:  Yeah, yeah.  We will shortly share the toolkits and first pass them to Tencent in a perfect world.  And Pete, what do you think?  You mentioned responsibilities that came.  What's the one thing you like to see? 

   >> PETE ETCHELLS:  I think the most immediate thing that we can do is start sharing data with researchers.  So there is a lot of questions that we still struggle to answer as scientists about the basics of why people play games and what effects they have.  And there is a lot of rich diversity that game developers have.  There are issues around privacy and we need to push harder to share that data in a collaborative way. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Okay.  Great.  Manisha. 

   >> MANISHA SHELAT:  Yeah.  I would really like them to take the girl gamers more seriously.  And by that I don't mean that, you know, design accepted games for girls.  Like dolls and homes and not that.  But really make the space more empowering for girl gamers, you know, and like more safety, like less harassment so the real benefits, if these are the real benefits of gaming, they should be able to reap those benefits.  So that would be my take on it. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Thank you.  Thank you.  So now we will turn to our two industry representatives.  First I want to ask Dr. Jing Sun, because there are a lot of, you know, sort of masses or tools adopted by the games.  And one thing child rights community are very concerned about is, you know, maybe embedded marketing for children.  So what do you think of that? 

   >> JING SUN:  It is too commercial? 

   >> WENYING SU:  Yeah, yeah.  Yeah.  What do you think that companies should respond to such concerns? 

   >> JING SUN:  I think for now in our context, in China, we do have some problems about commercialized promotion and also commercial production.  However, luckily we see the higher game literacy in both female gamers and male gamers.  And now people are willing to play more creative games with more fun mechanics.  And I think it is really a cycle for me.  Just now as I said it is connected gaming ecology.  And with higher or rise of game, gamers taste I think it will push developers and production team to produce more creative works.  And finally, they will find a commercial promotion is not the only way to attract gamers.  And they have to provide better works or better games for them to help them to, you know, fill in their entertainment time and help them to do some functional tasks like in education, health and care and also other social society ‑‑ social responsibilities things.  Thank you. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Okay.  Thank you.  And a quick question for Lanky.  You talk about the efforts by Tencent on educational games.  Given the seriousness of such games are not so appealing to the children.  The learning and other benefits needs to be fully started.  What's your vision for serious games to make a difference? 

   >> LANKY ZHENG:  That's a serious term, functional game that we use to describe games with a different purpose.  But generally the public usually thinks there is other one or two famous games for commercial purpose in the market.  So this game is like one or two very famous title.  But I have read an Article called Origins of Serious Games and scholars have concluded that all games have a purpose to describe, to solve a problem in very similar, in real life.  So that's the target or the aim of game design.  So actually every game has its real purpose just like what we do in real life.  Just because we designed the game, you know, the game is designed to be so interesting, so entertaining, for entertainment.  So people noticed the entertainment part of the game and maybe not forget the other part of this game.  I can give you one or two examples.  First I just like I mentioned in my presentation the everlasting regret.  It is a very famous masterpiece created by Dre.  But it is an Asian art.  It is very hard for people to understand or feel the feeling about art.  So we have created a puzzling game, same name, same title and let all the players to feel feeding of imagery.  Even commercial games can do the same purpose, like very famous mobile game, everyone play this, I don't know the English name of it yet.  It is a very famous game, very popular.  There is a University in China called Public Security University.  The students there they are going to be police officers in the future.  They use this game to train their tactics.  They play the game.  Use the technology or skills, learn from the cars and try to test as a result. 

And then they can ‑‑ even they can review the video they have recorded to see if this tactics or plan works just as taught in the classroom.  I think the main problem is not what we use, what we deal with the games.  It is a problem can we find good games for proper users.  So it is a bigger challenge for all of us, like game companies, producers.  So even schools, parents, different kind of roles in society must participate in this progress and help or kind of users to find the right titles for them.  So I think this is final solution for this problem. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Last but definitely not least I want to invite Yufan to use one sentence to share her vision of gaming in the future. 

   >> YUFAN BAI:  I hope that gaming companies will make more creative, creative games.  And make us more happier, not rather than make them richer. 

   >> WENYING SU:  Make better games make us happy and not richer.  Very well said. 
    So, everyone, 90 minutes went by so quickly.  So much to talk about and so little time.  Now we are coming to the end of the workshop.  Thank you so much for all the panelists for your time and energy and insights.  And a big thank you to the IGF organizers and support team.  We could not have done this without you. 

Lastly the audience that stayed with us.  It was great to meet you virtually.  And we will hopefully continue this important discussion hopefully next time or in person.  Thank you. 

   >> Thank you. 

   >> WENYING SU:  End of the workshop.  Thank you, everyone.

   >> Thank you so much.  Thank you so much.  And remember to ‑‑ there is a feedback e‑mail that will be sent.  Please just at least do give us feedback.  We will use that to plan for the next IGF. 

   >> WENYING SU:  We'll do.

   >> VINCENT MWANDO:  Thank you so much.  My name was Vincent and I was your host today.  Thank you so much from IGF. 

   >> Bye‑bye.

   >> Bye.  Bye Amanda. 

   >> See you next week. 

   >> See you.

                               

 

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