Soccer can be used for so many things. For the most part, it is a game that is played for the enjoyment of others. No words can fully describe the thrill – the almost animalistic pleasure – of being in a crowd of soccer fans. It’s a rush that makes even the most stoic individual excited. But what makes me more proud of soccer is how it is now being used for education. Again, it is used for so many things.
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Recently, a new online soccer game was launched to teach children about gender-based violence. The premise is very simple. The game shows a girl being abducted, forced into a locker, and being continually bullied and abused. It aims to teach children around the ages of 9 to 15 a healthy and equal attitude towards girls and women. It doesn’t mean to glamorize gangs of violence but really push the thought that there are still women and little girls that are being discriminated and hurt based on their gender.
So far, the game has been played in 185 countries and has received mostly positive feedback. Some parents are shocked by the method in which the violence is portrayed, but developers and soccer support groups say that the violence is equal to other available games. The point, what is constantly emphasized, is that every group – whether sports or health or multimedia – has an obligation to teach children how to be more accepting of others and to lessen prejudice. This is done through education and using all available tools, multimedia arts notwithstanding.
I am very happy being part of a sports group that supports other people’s rights. This really proves that soccer extends boundaries and I hope that other sports take up the helm so that we can create a more forgiving and accepting community.
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