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OP 3/15/07 3:15:56 PM#1
My name is Megan Loving. I am an undergraduate communication major enrolled in my senior capstone course. Trinity is an independent liberal arts college based in San Antonio, Texas.
In this class, we have the opportunity to conduct one final major research project on the topic of our choice. I am exploring ways that social virtual worlds could be used to improve the quality of life and satisfy the socialization needs of children who are being treated for cancer. I have worked on a pediatric oncology floor as a volunteer for Child Life and I understand the importance of interaction among children during treatment.
Social virtual worlds are on-line spaces in which thousands of people interact with one another by
assuming the identity of a highly customized game character. Players work alone or with others to
explore new territories and solve on-line puzzles.
My hope is that virtual worlds such as these can make it possible for these children to interact
with others and improve their communication skills that can be lost in the dreary hospital wing.
The characters created by the patients could provide an outlet for them to run and jump and have
long hair – whatever their individual wish may be. They could gain confidence and escape lonely,
self-conscious feelings for a little while.
This project is a continuation of last year’s research on the same issue. This semester, I will be putting together a research proposal to increase interest, looking specifically at recommending Disney’s Toontown Online. I will also be continuing research on the benefits of games and the needs of the patients.
I am hoping to speak with parents (over the age of 18) about their concerns and
recommendations related to this proposal. When it comes to understanding the needs of children
undergoing cancer treatments, you are clearly the most well informed adults with whom I could
speak. I would also be interested to hear from those within the gaming industry, as well as participants of the games.
These interviews could take place via e-mail or over an anonymous instant messaging
connection. I will preserve the anonymity and confidentiality of all participants.
If you are willing to be interviewed about your thoughts on this topic, please contact me at: