Friday, July 30, 2010

Feds' Computer Sex Game for Kids Teaches Abstinence?

The federal government is using taxpayer dollars for a video game wherein young girls, including preteens, are enticed into sexual situations by a 'trained adult.'

-- From "UCF gets $434K NIH grant" by Orlando Business Journal 7/26/10

The University of Central Florida was awarded a $434,800 National Institutes of Health grant that will allow researchers there to develop a game using life-size avatars and real-life scenarios to promote sexual abstinence among Latina middle schoolers.

Anne Norris, a UCF nursing professor, and Charles Hughes, a UCF computer science professor, will work together with UCF’s Institute for Simulation & Training during the next two years on the project.

The game is intended to be played in after-school and youth outreach programs run by trained teachers and counselors. It will be designed to improve girls’ skills in responding to peer pressure to engage in sexual behavior.

“Our ultimate goal is to reduce pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease among the young Latina population,” Norris said.

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From "Avatars to Help Latina Girls Say 'No' to Sex" by Kimberly Lewis, University of Central Florida 7/27/10

The schoolgirls will interact with realistic computer-generated characters that speak and respond to them in real-life scenarios. To make the game as realistic as possible, the avatars are controlled by the actions of a skilled "interactor" using motion-capture technology. The interactor remains hidden, often in a remote location, during game play.

Norris cites many reasons for focusing on young Latina adolescents, age 12-15. Low-income Latinas have higher teen birth rates and higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases than their white peers. The best time to teach girls abstinence and peer-resistance skills is during middle school -- those approaches are less effective once girls become sexually active. And many Latina girls may lack role models who can help them learn how to resist peer pressure.

While the peer-resistance computer game is focused on young adolescent Latinas, all middle schoolers could benefit. If the game is successful for these girls, Norris plans to develop a similar game for boys and girls of other ethnicities.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Federal government funds virtual 'sex' game" by Chelsea Schilling © 2010 WorldNetDaily 7/30/10

"[The game is] a place to practice where there aren't any social consequences," Norris said.

Developers expect to finish the game by spring of 2011.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.