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Much attention has been paid to young people’s increased participation in digital publics and its potential impact on their development and learning. However, few studies have examined the ethics in online play and their interactions as a critical aspect in the development of youth digital culture. In this paper we turn to the issue of cheating, a widely accepted practice in many online communities, including Whyville.net, a virtual world with over 5.5 million registered players ages 8-16. Our analyses focused on culturally-relevant examples such as player-written articles on cheating and player-produced YouTube cheating videos associated with Whyville from 2000 to 2016. The findings reveal that cultural concepts like cheating are embedded and transformed in the context of youth digital interactions, productions, and reflections. In the discussion, we address implications of these findings for engaging youth with ethics in online gaming communities.
Kafai, Yasmin B., et al. “The Ethics of Play and Participation in a Tween Virtual World: Continuity and Change in Cheating Practices and Perspectives in the Whyville Community.” Cognitive Development, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2018.11.004.