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Girls Game to Learn Computer Skills

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CARY — Young girls are finally getting more opportunities to gain high-tech knowledge, which could help them find high-tech jobs in the future.

"Right now the computer is in most of the world, so if you learn about computers at a young age, then you'll do better when you get older," says Allie Rosenbaum, a seventh-grader atCary Academy.

Rosenbaum is part of a new club at Cary Academy called Webgirls. Club members learn all about computers, from mechanics to playing games.

Games are a way for kids to become proficient on computers, but boys may have the advantage because there are endless games for them, compared to about 65 targeted for girls.

Psychologist Dr. Kathryn Wright says the discrepancy could havelong-term consequences.

"When they hit the classroom, boys already have a jump on young girls because they're already more comfortable," Wright says. "They're spending a lot more time having fun on the computer, and that's part of the problem."

Wright is part ofWomenGamers.com, a Web site that publishes gaming reviews, game recommendations, and articles about women's technology issues. Members also speak to the Webgirls at Cary Academy.

About one-third of the site's visitors are actually men in the gaming industry.

"They come to our site to learn how to better target women through their games, how to make a better female lead character, for example," says Phaedra Boinodiris, president of WomenGamers.com.

female leads. -->One game Wright recommends is Nancy Drew Interactive Mystery Games.

While the number of games for girls is going up, the number of women getting technology-related jobs is down by 17 percent, according toWired magazine.

Wright says it is tough for women to be accepted in such a male-dominated industry, and girls are still not encouraged in math and science.

"It is changing, changing slowly, and there's a lot more work to be done," Wright says.

Wright has some tips to help get girls going on computers.
  • Make sure they have access to a computer.
  • Buy them software, whether gaming or educational.
  • Encourage them to take math and science classes.
  • Introduce them to female role models in the technology field.
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    Lynda Loveland, Reporter
    Jim Young, Photographer
    Julie Moos, Web Editor

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