When us ex-young people talk about agar, we usually think of the stuff you cultivate bacteria in, but mention it to today’s youth, and they will probably more likely associate it with Agar.io, an online multiplayer game.
Cells in a Petri Dish
In the game you are a cell in a petri-dish which floats around eating other cells, enabling you to grow in size. Your goal? To gain as much mass as possible by swallowing smaller cells without being swallowed by bigger ones.
Simple, harmless, fun. Yes, for once this really is a game which shouldn’t create too many problems for its players. But (why is there always a but) just a couple of things to be wary of.
It is VERY addictive, and I mean it! An hour has vanished before my eyes whilst playing this game (for research purposes of course). Something worth considering if young people at your establishment seem to be distracted for long periods of time.
Needless to say, it could have a negative impact upon learning if time restrictions aren’t in place so might be worth considering this. If it’s a real distraction during lesson time for schools, they can probably filter the game through their schools filtering system with relative ease.
If you’re have an SWGfL connection and need help with this, please contact the technical support team on 0845 3077 870.
Inbetweeners meets Geordie Shore
The only other thing to watch out for is the usernames. Whilst some range from the sublime (Boaty McBoat Face) to the ridiculous (Pluto is a Planet!) They can be urrr, how shall I put this? Quite sweary! I’m talking Inbetweeners meets Geordie Shore, you get the picture?
The problem is people can quite literally name their cells anything. This doesn’t cause a problem until you know that primary school children are playing the game too. Let’s be honest, no-one wants to be having a conversation with a 7 year old about whether an ear of corn has a better hairstyle than Donald Trump!
In all seriousness though, there have been instances where younger children have been exposed to quite explicit terms leading to some interesting conversations. It’s worth knowing that when the cells are still quite small there will be hundreds in view so, potentially, a whole wall of interesting terminology staring you in the face.
This doesn’t mean that the younger generation can’t play, but maybe take a look yourself before letting the little darlings free and prepare them for what they may see.
As is always the case, if your organisation is dealing with an issue relating to Agario or any other online game, you can call the Professionals Online Safety Helpline for more support and advice on 0844 3814 772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.