Many students have been talking about an online game called Runescape. It is a multiplayer game that is played over the internet also known as a MMOG . Players can interact with other players and communicate using a chat feature built into the game.

When perusing the site, I found that they had many resources that promote safe and responsible internet use. On the homepage, there are links to a Parent’s Guide and a Responsible Gaming Policy.

Within the parent’s guide, the site lists several educational benefits for players including friendship, teamwork, problem solving and the importance of online security.

“RuneScape aims to provide an entertaining and fulfilling online gaming experience, one that people of all ages can enjoy. Moreover, we try to educate our players in ways that will help them develop essential skills that they could use in their everyday life.”

The responsible gaming policy outlines 6 tips for players.

  • Take a break from the computer: read a book, go for a walk.
  • Exercise at least once a week (this does not include doing Agility courses in RuneScape).
  • Remember, it is just a game.
  • When eating, take a break from the computer – it’ll still be there when you come back.
  • Don’t ignore your real-life friends, meet up with them on a regular basis.
  • Work and study matters: don’t let playing a game stop you doing well in your studies or at work.

Whether or not players actually take the time to read these sections or inform their parents that they are signed up with the site is another question.

Several students mentioned to me that you can “cheat” in the game by purchasing game items on eBay with real money. The students also displayed strong web awareness as they pointed out that these sales are usually scams. I will talk more about these virtual economies in a future post.