Workshops With Kids

We’re building a cross-media game that will help children to develop skills related to managing online privacy. We’re recruiting children aged 8-10, living within the Greater Toronto Area, to help make this game. They’ll participate in 6 workshops lasting 4 hours each, on weekend afternoons over the course of 3 months. The material created by children during these sessions will be used to create a game that will be distributed online, for free.

We’re also recruiting children aged 6-7 to participate in a single, 2-hour workshop. Read more >>

Benefits for Children

Through these workshops, participating children will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn about digital media production, by being part of the creation process of a professionally produced game.
  • Learn to think about online privacy issues, through a variety of activities and guided discussions.
  • Build teamwork skills, by working on a long-term project in a small group.
  • Develop critical analysis skills, through a guided examination of games they play, led
    by professional game designers.
  • Practice a variety of creative activities, including writing, drawing, and
    brainstorming, as they work on materials for the game.
  • Directly contribute to a widely distributed final product.

About the Workshops

Each workshop consists of a series of activities and open-ended discussions. The content of workshops varies with the phases of the project.

Early workshops focus on an examination online privacy issues. The middle workshops offer participants an exploration of how games are made, and basic game design skills. Later workshops put these skills to use, asking participants to develop concepts and creative materials for the game we’re creating, as well as play and critique prototypes.

Workshops consist largely of fun, game-like or creative activities, rather than classroom-style lessons. In addition, each workshop contains a 30 minute supervised break (or 15 minutes for shorter workshops.) Children will be supervised at all times by 2-4 project staff.

[ View the schedule of workshops here ]

About the Staff

The workshops are being run by individuals with experience running similar events. In addition, all supervisory staff have received recent police reference checks.

David Fono and Kate Raynes-Goldie are the project leads, and the co-founders of Atmosphere Industries, a not-for-profit game development company. Kate is an accomplished researcher in the field of online youth privacy, and is currently completing her PhD on this topic.

Jaime Woo is the organizer of Gamercamp Jr , a 1-day event for children aged 9-13 that offers a crash course intro to the games industry. He is also an experienced community organizer and writer/filmmaker.

Noah Kenneally has worked for 17 years as an arts educator and community artist, facilitating many projects and programs for children. He is currently studying Early Childhood Education at Ryerson University.

The project’s advisor at Ryerson University is Dr. Jason Nolan , Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education and Director of the EDGE Lab.

Workshop Location

Sessions will take place at Ryerson University.

Why Teach Young Children About Privacy?

Research collected by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has indicated that critical thinking skills around privacy are best imparted at a young age. While teenagers exhibit greater use of online technologies, they also have more embedded assumptions and beliefs about these technologies.

In addition, in an effort to make our game available to as wide an audience as possible, we have taken guidance from the games industry; the common standard for an “all ages game” is a game made for ages 8 and up.

For more information, or to inquire about participation in the project, email [email protected] , or contact Jaime Woo at 416-806-1634.