Despite Their Recognition Amongst Youth (ages 6 - 14)

This dissertation endeavors to deeply understand the features of Minecraft servers explicitly created for youth through three research using mixed methods analysis. Human-Laptop Interplay (HCI) analysis reveals that sandbox-fashion digital world games like Minecraft operate as interest-pushed spaces the place youth can explore their creative pursuits, build technical expertise, and type social connections with friends and near-peers. Despite their popularity among youth (ages 6 - 14), we know little in regards to the social and technological features of "in-the-wild" Minecraft servers that present themselves as "child-pleasant" or "family-friendly." The goals of this work are three-fold:1. To analyze the rhetoric of child-/household-friendliness and the socio-technical mechanisms of such servers (Research I: 60 servers), 2. To grasp the lived experiences of server workers who average on such servers (Research II: 8 youth and 22 moderators), and 3. To explore a design paradigm for technological mechanisms that leverage the strengths of a child-/family-friendly server group whereas also supporting moderators' practices (Research III) I draw from interdisciplinary theories and construction this dissertation round two fundamental arguments about child-/family-friendly Minecraft server ecosystems. First, I argue that they are instantiations of play-primarily based affinity networks created by adults that promote alternatives for youth to explore their pursuits and social connections. Second, I argue that the social and technological mechanisms mirrored within the server rules and moderators' practices are characteristic of servers that self-describe as child-/family-friendly. Study I contributes a taxonomy for understanding server guidelines and an empirical characterization of three server genres - kid-/family-friendly (n1 = 19); common-household-friendly (n2 = 20); and basic (n3 = 20) in Minecraft. Examine II reveals moderators' motivations and socio-technical practices in child-/family-pleasant servers. The findings present that grownup moderators encourage youth-led creative roleplays, assist the interests of younger gamers (e.g., Hogwarts virtual world, virtual Satisfaction Day celebrations, and so forth.), and offer mentorship to youth moderators on their servers. Research III theorizes the potential for automated prosocial instruments in play-primarily based areas by means of a Discord Bot referred to as "UCIProsocialBot" within OhanaCraft, one in all the kid-/household-pleasant server communities. Collectively, these findings present a set of social and technological options that will substantiate a model for designing kid-/household-friendly on-line playgrounds. This work theorizes that child-/family-pleasant servers can actualize positive youth improvement when their self-narratives, social practices, and technological mechanisms are aligned with adolescent developmental needs. RAUNGE