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Video Game Teaches Kenyan Youth HIV-Safety 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-already-knew-video-games-slowed-spreading-of-stds dept.
QuackenDuck writes "The latest video-game headlines are all about virtual sex, violence, and taxes. Here's a story that turns the 'Think of the Children' battle-cry against games on its head. VOA News reports on how the video game medium is being used to educate Kenyan youths about risky behaviors that lead to HIV infection: 'Kenya has an HIV prevalence rate of about five percent, with young women among the most vulnerable to new infection. Now, the US government and a private entertainment company have teamed up to produce and distribute a video game that teaches Kenyan youth how to avoid contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.' Many parts of the world are gritty, violent and dangerous, and this game designer is using gritty, violent and dangerous content to teach the children of Kenya."
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Video Game Teaches Kenyan Youth HIV-Safety

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  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Monday March 16, 2009 @03:38AM (#27207477) Homepage
    ..."you died of aids."
  • lolwut (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    what kind of rating would your game get in America if:

    this game designer is using gritty, violent and dangerous content to teach the children

    I'm thinking liesure-suit larry, left4dead, and gta4 rolled into one.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      having sex with zombie hookers in a stolen car does sound pretty awesome
  • A games company called Virtual Heroes Inc. developed Pamoja Mtaani, which targets 15 to 19-year-olds .

    Why does this seem like something the same people protesting Sexual Education in our American schools, to kids EXACTLY the same age, would support?

    • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday March 16, 2009 @04:13AM (#27207615)

      The people who protest sex ed in the US would likely want this program to be abstinence only. It's not, so they probably think it's horrible.

      • by aliquis (678370)

        I'm a good boy, no sex for 30 years!

        • I wouldn't have blamed you for, and probably would have encouraged you to, post anonymously. If true, and not by choice, I'm sorry.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by aliquis (678370)

            I wouldn't have blamed you for, and probably would have encouraged you to, post anonymously.

            I don't care, do with it as you please.

            If true, and not by choice, I'm sorry.

            True? Yes.
            By choice? I wouldn't say so, though I guess my whole sex drive/partner intrest/.. may be lower than others, some special preferences (preferably non-animal eating to begin with) and I don't see why I should have sex with someone I find unattractive or don't like for whatever reason.

            I guess it can feel ok even with ugly people you don't have anything in common with but well, don't seem much worth it.

            Suck that I haven't found any attractive one or was to harsh

      • by Xtravar (725372)

        Well, the Africans are probably already going to hell in that view, so what's the difference?

    • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Monday March 16, 2009 @04:50AM (#27207757) Homepage Journal

      Why does this seem like something the same people protesting Sexual Education in our American schools

      The right wing tends to feel that sex education is more about promoting a sexual society than it is about safety, as, whenever the right suggests other things be taught in the same of safety, the left argues that such education is promotion. For example, you might think that we would have gun safety classes in a nation with 100 million guns, but the left wing has continually refused to let even -free- gun classes such as NRA'S Eagle program to be taught in public schools, because they say that teaching about guns promotes guns.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16, 2009 @05:29AM (#27207943)

        If humans were born with firearms equipped standard, the left would probably support proper training for children in their use.

        More seriously, I think the flaw in the right wing argument is the assumption that teenagers need any promoting to figure out they want to have sex and how to get around any restrictions in place to prevent it. On the other hand they might not figure out how to do it safely, or even recognize the need.

        I will also say that I don't think theres a problem with teaching children gun safety. Although I wouldn't want the NRA teaching my children anything.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          More seriously, I think the flaw in the right wing argument is the assumption that teenagers need any promoting to figure out they want to have sex

          No, they're right about that. In my teenage years, I had a lot of romantic ideals. I didn't really care about having sex until pressure from my peers and the media convinced me that it was the best thing ever and my life was worthless if I didn't have it.*
          The real flaw in the right wing's argument is that the promotion is going to come from society, regardless of anything they might try to do at school or in the family.

          (*: This turned out to be false.)

          • by TheCarp (96830) *

            > No, they're right about that. In my teenage years, I had a lot of romantic
            > ideals. I didn't really care about having sex until pressure from my peers and
            > the media convinced me that it was the best thing ever and my life was
            > worthless if I didn't have it.*
            > (*: This turned out to be false.)

            Same here though, I didn't need any pressure from peers. I found sex all on my own, like any good primate, by jacking off. It wasn't years of peer pressure that did it... it was just watching my peers

          • No, they're right about that. In my teenage years, I had a lot of romantic ideals. I didn't really care about having sex until pressure from my peers and the media convinced me that it was the best thing ever and my life was worthless if I didn't have it.* The real flaw in the right wing's argument is that the promotion is going to come from society, regardless of anything they might try to do at school or in the family.

            Some people become interested in sex earlier or later than others. But, almost everyone will have sex at some point in their lives, even the conservatives agree with that. And high school classes aren't just about what you need to know while you're a teen. I've never understood why people think teens shouldn't have sex ed because they think teens shouldn't have sex. They're going to have sex sooner or later, and they need to know the facts.

        • Although I wouldn't want the NRA teaching my children anything.

          Right... cause they'll teach your precious children to treat it like it is always loaded, never point it at people, make sure the safety is on if you're not ready to shoot, always know what is behind your target, store it with the breech open and have a trigger lock.

          WONT SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!??!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wisty (1335733)

        Free gun training is a fair analogy. It would promote gun use, but also make the gun use safer, unless the gun user meant to cause harm.

        Likewise, sex education will promote (slightly) more sex, and safer sex. It might also be bad business for brothels in the bible belt.

        I guess the morality of either plan would depend on your worldview.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Yvanhoe (564877)
        A class about gun and sex safety... that would be awesome. Add in drugs and rock 'n roll and kids will finally learn to LOVE school again.
        • by TheCarp (96830) *

          Funny you would mention drugs.... talk about a policy that missed its mark.

          Lets persue policies that help increase ignorance about drugs, lead to increases in both price and potency.... yes thats a real recipe for harm reduction now. Instead of a bunch of addicts we can treat medically and in the mean time are low on the productivity scale... and see if we can't turn them all into criminals who steal to support their habbits.

          Great plan. Once again a triumph for abstinence only education!

          Hard to fault them,

          • by Yvanhoe (564877)
            You mean that by outlawing sex its potency could increase ? Okay, I'm voting southern baptist republican from now on !
      • by MarkvW (1037596)

        Oh! I get your analogy!!

        Happiness is a warm, yes it is . . .
        Gun
        Bang Bang Shoot Shoot

      • by TheCarp (96830) *

        Sigh so sad.

        I happen be on both ends.... I am all for sex education. I can remember my sex ed instructor in middle school saying it should start in second grade on some level. I have to agree, its HEALTH. There is nothing wrong with teaching health, in fact, we should do more of it.

        I think the entire concept of sex being "bad" and "dirty" needs to be done away with. I think the entirety of "lets not talk about sex", and "sex = loss of innocence" needs to be forgotten beyond our ability to recall that people

        • by Zerth (26112)

          Losing your innocence about sex should be like losing your innocence about Santa.

          Lots of excitement, yelling, upset parents, a little blood, and an elaborately rigged trap.

          What, you didn't find the truth by rigging a snare in front of the tree?

    • by Quothz (683368) on Monday March 16, 2009 @07:00AM (#27208291) Journal

      Why does this seem like something the same people protesting Sexual Education in our American schools, to kids EXACTLY the same age, would support?

      Because... they did. This is funded largely by PEPFAR,* an organization legislated in '03 with strong bipartisan support, and signed into law by - that's right - Dubya Bush, who is a very vocal proponent of abstinence-only sex ed. Hee hee!

      PEPFAR notes that they distribute 2.2 billion condoms from 2004 to 2008. Alas, President Bush was unable to hand-sign them all, but he did sign for renewed (and increased) funding late in '08.

      *Okay, it's not clear how much of the bill PEPFAR's picking up. Warner Bros. appears to be footing the remainder. PEPFAR spends a lot, tho', overall; something over $9 billion a year at the moment.

      • by Neuticle (255200)

        USAID, under Bush's watch, also launched and entire BRAND of condoms in Tanzania. They weren't officially handed out in schools as far as I know, but the students certainly knew about it from the accompanying advertising blitz. I even got a polo shirt with the logo and the USAID logo. There was no hiding the fact that the USA was funding it.

        There was some crazy splitting of hairs when it came to funding some "abstinence ONLY" sex-ed and "regular" sex ed, but in my experience, that usually amounted to teach

  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Monday March 16, 2009 @04:51AM (#27207761)
    You are standing in front of an African village. >go north You are killed by AIDS.
    • by Atheose (932144)
      Can't believe someone modded this redundant. Funniest post on slashdot in a long time.
  • by atarione (601740) on Monday March 16, 2009 @05:13AM (#27207871)

    is about $1.32 a day... who exactly is going to have a computer to play this game ????

    or is the President of Kenya going to hold a LAN party ???

    • You should not have asked that question...you may have just stumbled upon the real purpose for the OLPC project.
    • In many developing countries, internet cafes are very popular. Maybe that's where this will be installed.
    • by Neuticle (255200)

      Having lived in (and taught sex-ed in) East Africa*, I can tell you a couple of things:

      1) Internet cafes are in most mid-sized towns. All the regional capitals have multiple shops and most district capitals will have at least one.

      2) Youths 15-19 (the group being targeted) make up a very large percentage of internet cafe customers. Even if they live far away and are poor, many of them will know how to use email and Google/Yahoo, and they will use it every chance they can.

      3) When kids can't afford the cafe's

  • A game that encourages (safe) sex and use of drugs (using sterile needles), I want it!

  • teach them to search the whole town for a frigging condom.

  • Kenya! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Where can you see condoms? Only in Kenya. [weebls-stuff.com] Come to Kenya, we got condoms.
  • You OBLITERATE Ubu the Rapist with your Super Condom 2000. Ubu the Rapist's bash sends your clothes sprawling. Ubu the Rapist ANNIHILATES you with AIDS You are DEAD! R.I.P.
  • Hey, somebody should make sure Jack Thompson knows about this. He'd probably be on the next plane to Kenya to try to stop it.

    Then, if we can just make sure he never comes back ...

  • After all, folks there seem to be trying to catch up with Africa. [msn.com]
  • I'm part of a team doing research into the area of HIV/AIDS education and prevention by developing better intervention methods. What we've found is that the people who were most likely to engage in unsafe behaviors were also the least likely to benefit from traditional educational interventions. Some people have personality traits that seem to interfere a great deal with long-term self-protective behaviors when faced with the prospect of short-term pleasure.

    One of the things we're trying is to recreate (as

    • by TheLink (130905)
      > Some people have personality traits that seem to interfere a great deal with long-term self-protective behaviors when faced with the prospect of short-term pleasure.

      Maybe a bit of "reverse psychology" might help.

      Tell them, "Hey it's actually a plus if you "short-term" guys ignore us and insist on weeding yourself out of the human race. We already have > 6 billion. Not like we need more people whose foresight is shorter than their foreplay, or even their foreskin. So go ahead and get yourself killed
      • The "Hurr, if they don't listen then let them die!" response that you had is pretty common, unfortunately.

        As I said, not everyone learns the same way, and certain people with certain personality traits tend to behave more impulsively when under conditions of extreme arousal (or, unfortunately, often duress) than others. You might be perfectly willing to write those people off, but fortunately, other people aren't misanthropic idiots and actually understand that spending some efforts trying to figure out how

        • by TheLink (130905)
          You'll have to figure out how to reliably get people to inflict sufficient mental pain on themselves when they do something wrong in a simulated scenario (and mental pleasure when they do something right).

          The alternative is to resort to externally inflicted pain and pleasure - aka "old fashioned teaching methods".

          While not everyone learns the same way, the "old fashioned method" works on 99% of people. Pain and reward. Even works on slugs and bugs.

          If we condition people to think "put on a condom and you'll
  • VOA News reports on how the video game medium is being used to educate Kenyan youths about risky behaviors that lead to HIV infection

    I mean, are they even going to be able to relate to Fable II?

  • Achievement Unlocked: No nookie!

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