The Office of the eSafety Commissioner is today launching a new video game, The Lost Summer, designed for students to play in the classroom to help encourage digital intelligence and online safety skills.
“The Lost Summer is a fun and engaging way to get young Australians thinking about the social and emotional skills they need to navigate the online world safely,” says eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.
Aimed at 11 to 14-year-olds, The Lost Summer immerses players in a futuristic environment where they are required to exercise skills such as critical thinking, empathy, resilience, respect and responsibility to complete challenges and advance through the game.
Recent research from the eSafety Office shows an estimated 81 per cent of Australian young people aged between 8 and 17 have played games online in the past 12 months.
“We know that online gaming is hugely popular among young people,” says Inman Grant. “We’ve created a gamified experience that is engaging and will resonate with young people as they learn the importance of digital intelligence,”
“Unfortunately, the increasing popularity of online gaming has also given rise to some negative experiences for young people, particularly in-game bullying,” says Inman Grant.
Research from the eSafety Office also shows that 17 per cent of those aged 8 to 17 who play multiplayer games online were bullied or abused during gameplay.
“Young people are bound to encounter negative online experiences—it’s not ‘if’ but ‘when’,” says Inman Grant. “We need to provide young people with solution-focused strategies to ensure they can bounce back from tough situations,” says Inman Grant.
“The Lost Summer encourages young people to exercise essential skills like critical thinking, resilience and empathy, empowering them to be agents of positive change online.”
Hundreds of Australian school students from a range of backgrounds participated in user testing during the game’s development, contributing unique insights and helping build a resource that resonates with both students and educators.
The Lost Summer game will be officially launched today at an interactive event in Sydney’s west, with 60 students from local high schools participating. Prominent gaming influencer and former ABC Good Game presenter Stephanie ‘Hex’ Bendixsen will emcee the event.
The Lost Summer is now available to download for free from the App Store, Google Play or for desktop at esafety.gov.au/tls