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2007.01.26
* With UNICEF and Global Kids, teens in a virtual world tackle real children's issues This is Teen Second Life. An under-18’s corner of the increasingly popular online alternative reality Second Life. And this is Mariel - a UNICEF Voices of Youth representative from Mexico. She’s here as part of a week-long festival, organized by UNICEF and the New York charity Global Kids, to help teens focus their energy on children’s issues - specifically those raised by the United Nations’ World Fit for Children declaration. She communicates to others through instant messaging and Skype’s online telephone service. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Mariel Garcia, UNICEF Voices of Youth representative: “I try to tell them about the four main issues: HIV or AIDS, education, health and exploitation and abuse.” Mariel is also judging the competition in which teams have built up these interactive areas to highlight and educate one another about the various issues…. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Barry Joseph, Global Kids Online Leadership Director: “What we find in Teen Second Life is a youth community of young people have already learned by the very nature of being there to take responsibility for their own environment, They literally create the world around them. They create the textures that they walk across. They create the objects, the clothes that they wear. Young people in Teen Second Life are ready to help shape the world but don’t have a way to focus it.” Real under-18’s also exist behind the avatars… Through the World Fit For Children competition in Teen Second Life, these New York kids are learning how to use technology to engage with other teens anywhere in the world on global children’s issues. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Nafiza Akter, 16 years old: “Second Life is like basically a virtual reality a game and people like building in Second Life so it combines world issues with things we like. It provides a challenge for us. Can you win this? Can you do this, put this and this together and win this competition.” Undoubtedly, the financial incentive helped interest teenagers in this competition - these lads from Finland won 200 dollars for their first place building of a school - but overall, the World Fit For Children project is thought to have reached more than a thousand teens and UNICEF hopes the real message they will have taken away from the week is how to put their online energy into action for the benefit of children in the real world. This is RBC reporting for UNICEF Television. Unite For Children.
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