“I’ve been a part of Fantastic Dream for about 3 years. We work to build an online community by empowering young people through gaming, video production and education on internet culture. A lot of gamers can be quite introverted and passive; so through our activities we try to mobilise them to be active participants to create, produce and also engage with the community. Some people might think that online gaming is all about play, but actually a significant part of it is also the community element. Many young people use gaming as a platform to connect with others, share their stresses and provide mutual support. What’s unique about interacting online is that you cannot have preconceived ideas or form a stereotype; everyone is equal on the gaming platform and some find it easier to make friends that way. Our work is all about seeing things from young people’s point of view. With compassion, we can understand the environment and challenges that someone else is facing and really think about what they need, not what we think they need. It’s an inevitable fact in this day and age that youngsters are spending significant amounts of time online - so it’s about how we can leverage this and transform it into a positive force!”
“There is a lot of misconception around gaming, but it actually can be used to connect, engage and develop problem-solving and team working skills. We encourage young people to bring ‘online to offline’, by using their skills to film interviews, dig deeper into local culture and interact with the community. We also want them to understand that their career paths can be non-linear, that possibilities are endless and that we can draw inspiration to create from everywhere. On the flip side, gaming addiction is a real and severe issue. If people use gaming as a way to escape from real life or as a habitual distraction, then it can be very unhealthy. However, our focus is to use gaming as a tool to build positive traits and skills which can then be applied to solve day to day life challenges. It’s about how we can make this habit healthier and more constructive. Our online community often gets together in our studio to connect and create. They see this as a safe and fun space to relax and play; when they get here, many of them don’t want to leave!”
“As we get older we tend to box ourselves in, but through working with young people I can keep learning, expanding and growing. They help me to see things from fresh perspectives. This is why over the years, my career in the NGO space has always been centred around youth development. I am 40 years old but am creative and young at heart. I really enjoy the work that I do as it inspires me every day to see the infinite possibility in young people; they are our future after all. Teenagers are subject to a lot of pressure - from school, at home, from the pandemic and other recent events. That’s why a crucial part of our work is to find joy in playing together. We all need play to revive us, give us energy and bring us joy; youngsters in particular need the space and freedom to have fun and play. If we can’t be playful and find joy in life, then what’s in our future?”
Want to know more about Fantastic Dream ?
Check out our field trip report and learn more about the organisation and how you can help