2:04am

Fri November 8, 2013
All Tech Considered

Third-Graders React To Video Games Tracking Their Play

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 9:17 am

Last week, as part of our kids and technology theme week, Steve Henn wrote about how video game makers are spending more time and money tracking players' behavior.

"As we play games, game designers are running tests on us and our kids. They're asking themselves what can they tweak to make us play just a bit longer," Henn wrote.

The story connected with Mary Beth James. She's a third grade teacher at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School in Washington, D.C., and she played our report to her class. (We feel honored.)

"The theme of being watched and tracked was pretty scary to the kids. And they wanted to know why they were doing that," James said.

James then asked the students to share their thoughts in the form of a letter to video game makers or NPR. Here is a sample of the letters.

And you can listen to the full week of reporting in our new tech team podcast, or read them on this page.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And last week on MORNING EDITION, NPR technology correspondent Steve Henn reported video game makers are spending more time and money tracking players' behavior.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: As we play games, game developers are running tests on us and our kids. They're asking themselves what can they tweak to make us play just a bit longer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The story connected with Mary Beth James. She's a third-grade teacher at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School here in Washington and she played Henn's report to her class.

MARY BETH JAMES: The theme of being watched and tracked was pretty scary to the kids, and they wanted to know why they were doing that.

MONTAGNE: James then asked her students to share their thoughts in the form of a letter to video game makers or NPR.

KATIE TROOP: Dear NPR, It really blew me away that the video game designers can take up kids' profiles and see how long they have been playing and what they've been doing.

LEO FARINO: Dear Video Game Designers, I felt discouraged when I heard that you were making people addicted to video games. Also, I never knew why video games were so addicting. Now I do.

AMIN NAQUIN: And I think it's a good idea making it addictive because then they'll make money for the company,y but if they play it all day, the parents are going to get really mad so they'll throw the game in the trash and stuff.

RYAN HARRISON: You surprised me by tracking our data. How do you come up with that brilliant but bad idea?

GREGORY WATSON: I thought that was not nice because you would stay on it for hours and get a headache. And you have to take disgusting Advil.

RORY MURPHY: Honestly, I think it's wrong to watch people play and collect their data.

GREENE: We appreciate those letters. That's Katie Troop, Leo Farino, Amin Naquin, Ryan Harrison, Gregory Watson, and Rory Murphy.

MONTAGNE: They are third-graders at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School. Thanks to teacher Mary Beth James for sharing the letters.

GREENE: And if you'd like to share your thoughts about something you've heard, please contact us on Facebook or on Twitter at morningedition@nprgreene or at nprinskeep. This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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