With the number of video gamers in Singapore expected to hit 3 million by 2026, video and mobile gaming has touched the lives of many internet users, serving as a conduit to form meaningful social connections and a platform to cultivate prosocial behaviours. Against this landscape, Tencent has partnered local social enterprise SOOS OIO to organise a series of parenting webinar, workshops and community gaming tournaments at this year’s Digital For Life Festival, organised by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
The events, which span across two weekends (21-22 May, 28-29 May), seek to advocate digital wellness among the public, and more specifically support the growth of a healthy, inclusive and balanced gameplay environment for everyone in Singapore. The collaboration taps on SOOS OIO’s local networks and experience working with Singaporean parents and youths, as well as Tencent’s global expertise in shaping a positive gameplay environment.
“We are proud to be part of the Digital For Life Festival to drive greater awareness about the importance of digital wellness, and how the digital sphere, including online gaming, enables new possibilities and empowers the digital society,” said Stanley Sun, head of publishing technology services of Interactive Entertainment Group (IEG) at Tencent. “As a game publisher, we continuously work to build a healthy and inclusive gaming ecosystem, in close collaboration with organisations like SOOS OIO in Singapore.”
SOOS OIO believes that video and mobile gaming serve not only as a social platform for community building, but an educational medium to develop critical thinking and communications skills. “Play is an integral part of learning and we believe that video gaming constitutes play on a different playground. It offers development for every youth across cognitive, emotional and social aspects,” said Pauline Phoon, founder of SOOS OIO. “Misconceptions around gaming often arise from a lack of understanding about the nature of games and the benefits it can bring. Together with Tencent, we hope to bring awareness among parents and community in Singapore about the various ways gaming can be leveraged for digital wellness, social and cognitive skills, and most importantly – as a means of connecting with children.”
“We thank SOOS OIO, Tencent and all partners for joining us to organise the parenting workshops and community gaming tournaments at the inaugural Digital for Life Festival, enabling our youths to learn the importance of healthy gaming, while strengthening social connections between family, friends and community,” said Ms Dawn Low, Cluster Director for Digital Readiness and Digital for Life programme office at IMDA.
Accompanying her sons to the community gaming tournament (TeleMatch Brawl Stars) on May 22, Anne Soh, mother of Jesse Tan (23 years old) and Jakin Tan (21 years old), shared, “I am glad that my sons are now able to share their strategies for healthy gaming with others through various platforms like social media and casting for competitions. From having to adhere to time limits I set for them when they were young, they have now progressed to being able to self-regulate their gaming schedules. I hope more parents will be able to engage with their children on ways to integrate gaming into a healthy and balanced lifestyle.”
Through the various activities planned for the Digital For Life Festival 2022, Tencent and SOOS OIO hope to demystify gaming for parents, engage youths to form healthy gaming habits, foster healthy familial relationships through gaming, and realise the benefits of play for everyone. These activities include:
- Webinar on Understanding Games, Gamers and Game Dependency
- During the webinar, parents were equipped with the framework needed to better understand games, gamers and game dependency, which allowed them to better appreciate the motivations behind certain gaming behaviour. The participants were also exposed to various communication strategies as well as a brief introduction to neurofeedback intervention – with the overall goal of improving parent-child communication and relationships.
- Parenting Challenge Workshops: Communicating & Engaging Gaming Youths at Home through Role Play
- As a follow up to the webinar, participants put the theories and communications strategies learnt to good use through role play sessions of common scenarios in families. These practical sessions helped to contextualise the learnings and deepened participants’ understanding of the theories through re-enactment in a safe environment.
- TeleTrip Festival
- Families and friends teamed up to battle each other in a casual and community-style gaming tournament, uniquely designed to be inclusive and fun for all. Two family-friendly game titles, Brawl Stars and Roblox: Super Striker Leaguewere featured in the telematches – albeit with a twist through a special rewards system that celebrates a myriad of accomplishments, beyond just the highest score. This serves to ignite participants’ creative, strategic gameplay and teamwork while ensuring that the games are accessible to every member of the family.
Following its Singapore office launch in late 2020, Tencent recently launched Level Infinite, the company’s global games publisher arm in Singapore. “Through our collaborations, we are also enabling the sustainable growth of the gaming industry by nurturing young talents, supporting local studios and investing in innovation in Singapore, and around the world,” Sun concluded.