Parents who have spent hours telling their kids they are wasting their lives away by sitting in front of a computer screen, playing video games and networking with their online friends might soon be revising their harsh tone.
A new trend sees online gaming and social networking blurring the line between virtual and real-world situations in the hopes of creating (fun and entertaining) socially conscious movements around the globe.
"Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems?" questioned Jane McGonigal, an avid gamer and director of game R&D at the Institute for the Future, while speaking at Ted2010 in February this year.
This newfound mentality is spreading in the gaming world. Corporations, eager to follow McGonigal's lead are pushing the concept of socially conscious gaming for a better future.
On June 22 Nokia announced they had teamed up with Heroes creator Tim Kring to launch a movement that "blends online and real-world tasks to effect social change through audience participation."
The project, called Conspiracy For Good (CFG), uses storytelling, social media, mobile devices, alternate reality gaming, music and physical participation to create social and educational change around the world.
"I believe that storytelling has the power to create positive change in the world. Audiences today want to be more involved in stories," said Tim Kring. "Our goal with the Conspiracy For Good is to entice, engage, and inspire the audience to drive real-world change through their participation in a narrative."
Video game players interested in "changing the world" can also play Superstruct, the massively multiplayer game developed by McGonigal. Superstruct encourages players to help solve many of the issues societies could be confronted with in 2019.
To see a list of additional socially conscious games, visit
Participants in the UK will be able to download Nokia's Conspiracy For Good: DeadDrop application on their Nokia compatible phone from the Ovi Store in mid-July.
Players around the world will be able to "make the world a better place" by visiting http://www.conspiracyforgood.com/ and getting involved.