Mind Your Manners! Social Etiquette in the Online Gaming World

If you were to sit down at a table with a few other people to play cards in the real world, you would know what to do and say to get along with everyone else. You would know what not to say and do as well. Unfortunately, too many people forget their manners when they play online games. If you spend any amount of time playing interactive games online, pay attention to these tips and learn to mind your manners.1. Your handle or screen name should not be offensive to others.There is pressure to come up with screen names or handles that are quirky or fun, but make sure you do not insult others while getting your kicks. If you enter a game or gaming chat room with a name that turns others off, you will not have the pleasant gaming experience you are looking for. There are people who want to cause controversy and stir up trouble so they can have sinister fun, but most likely that is not the experience you want to have.You never know who will be playing with in you online, regardless of what their avatars or online pictures may look like. It is best to name yourself something that doesn’t step on other’s toes.2. Make sure your language is appropriate to the online games you are playing.Some online games are specifically for adults while others allow minors to play along with the adults. You have to pay attention to the atmosphere of the games you play and adjust your language accordingly. If you tend to use a lot of foul language, you might tone it down if you were sitting in a room with children. The same approach should be taken when having fun with online gaming. There are times when rough language may be okay, but it isn’t always okay.3. Display good sportsmanship.If someone beats you, it does not mean that they have a “computer” making them win. If you are playing a team game and you are continually beat, it does no good to accuse the other team of cheating. Remember the rules of good sportsmanship on the field outside the Internet, and apply them to your life online. Do not rub your wins in the face of the losers and do not act like a spoiled loser when things do not go your way. Remember, it is just a game! It is all about fun.4. Give the new players a break.It can get annoying when new players ask the same questions over and over or can’t quite figure out how to sit at a table or work other functions of a game. Keep in mind that you were once a new player and you might not have always done things correctly. Rather than assuming someone is an idiot, help them out so they figure things out faster and the game can continue.5. Save the spam for email.Online gamers go online to enjoy themselves, not to be sold products. If you throw spam up in the chat forms you will receive backlash. Try becoming an active member of the gaming site and earning their trust, rather than spamming them.Online games are tons of fun, but only if everyone remembers their manners. This is a social environment just like any other.

Online Games Designed to Market Food Brands to Children: What Parents Should Know About Advergames

Have you ever heard the word “advergame”? Don’t feel stupid if you haven’t. The term is only about ten years old and it’s hardly spoken outside advertising circles.So what is an advergame? An advergame is a video game used to promote a brand, product or message. And, “advergaming,” as it’s called, is an increasingly popular way to get children under 12 years old to fall in love with food brands.Take the Kellogg’s Rice Krispie website. It has more than a dozen games for preschoolers and kindergarteners. The site is branded and the games feature Kellogg’s breakfast products. In one game, players have to move a bowl under a row of funnels to catch a variety of Kellogg’s brand cereals. In another game, players help the Rice Krispie characters fire cocoa beans into bowls.And Kellogg’s is not alone in using advergames to promote kids’ cereals by any means. General Mills’ breakfast cereal, Lucky Charms, has its own website complete with games, an adventure club, books, and secret content.While advergames themselves are fun, educational and seemingly harmless, they don’t sit comfortably with government guidelines for healthy eating and physical activity. Most countries have food guidelines. Many countries have laws in place that are supposed to ensure companies do not market junk food to children under the age of 12. With the rise of gaming as a recreational activity in recent years, several countries have lately developed healthy screen time guidelines for children.So, given that societies care a great deal about the health of future generations, it seems that when a food company uses online games to sell sugary foods to children under twelve that something is just not quite right. At worst, there is a complete disconnect between the promise to keep kids healthy and actually doing so. At best, it’s just an odd juxtaposition of means and ends with shareholders ultimately benefiting the most from this clever marketing approach.When you compound the rise of advergaming with the fact that many parents use video games and other sedentary activities as babysitters and that many of us are too busy to cook from scratch, the growing use of games to get kids, little kids, to fall in love with junk food is something that parents need to be aware of. After all, neither governments nor corporations are ultimately responsible for what our kids play and what our kids eat. We are.