The Best on the Server – animation for media education

This animation focuses on gaming and its impact on everyday life and how people spend their time and maintain their friendships. The animation is intended for pupils in grades 3–6. In addition to gaming, the video asks viewers to consider how they balance and self-regulate their media use.

Children and young people spend significant amounts of time in digital environments, such as in digital games and on social media. For many, gaming is a meaningful and balanced hobby and an essential part of the popular culture of children and young people. The reasons for playing digital games are varied and personal: some play for the story, some for the characters, some want to experience feelings of success, and some just want to hang out with their friends.

However, in some cases, a game may be so engrossing that it becomes difficult to stop playing, or a person’s gaming habit can begin to dominate their entire day. Managing your gaming time is a skill that must be practised, regardless of your age. In the case of children, their self-regulation skills are typically not developed enough to allow them to manage their media use.

In addition to sinking too much time into gaming or social media, uninterrupted gaming sessions and continuous phone use can result in other issues over the long term, such as physical ailments, especially when combined with a lack of physical activity and staying up late.

It can be particularly difficult to quit a digital game if the player knows that the game will continue even when they are not present at their device. However, a person can practise their time management by becoming more aware of the consequences of one’s actions and considering the factors that will help motivate them to quit playing.

The competitive nature of gaming can cause aggressive emotions and inappropriate behaviour towards other players or family members. In fact, studies have shown that many gamers wish that their fellow gamers were nicer to them. It is good to have constructive methods for working through strong emotions, and it is important to notice if a gaming experience is going overboard. Each player contributes to the creation of a behavioural culture for their game of choice. Most games today include reporting tools, community managers, or other methods for informing the game’s developers about players who engage in bullying, cheating, or distressing or discriminatory behaviour. Ultimately, it may become necessary to remove such players from the game. When players witness these types of situations, it is a good idea for them to intervene verbally.

This animation helps pupils think about how they can manage their gaming and take any other aspects of their life into account alongside their digital hobby. It is a good idea to encourage pupils to also spend time without any media, practice putting their devices away voluntarily, and remembering to honour any agreed gaming time limits. Allow your pupils to realise that their choices about how they spend their time – and behave towards others – apply not just to them but to the people around them, both inside and outside the game.

PLEASE NOTE! If a child becomes concerned about their own gaming habits after watching the animation or thinking about the questions, they can be encouraged to talk about the matter to their parents or some other adult they trust. Would they feel safer if they voluntarily agreed to a set of limits? If you need help in settings rules for a child’s gaming habit, see the examples provided in Life Online: He Just Plays and Plays.

Text: Aino Harvola, EHYT ry

The animation and pedagogical section support the media literacy skills of grade 3–6 pupils by focusing on the New Literacies development programme’s competence practices for Personal Use of Media, Wellbeing, and Good Interaction.

The animated series, produced by the National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI), has been designed for children and young people of different age groups. Each animation includes a set of pedagogical material to support the discussion of its themes. The material can be used both in early childhood education and care and in pre-primary and comprehensive education. It can also be used in other situations, such as supporting the media education provided by libraries or at home.

Published under the CC BY-NC license

Animation and pedagogical support material

Animation: The Best on the Server
Support questions for discussing the animation’s themes
The Best on the Server – animation for media education