Things in the future are great… on the surface.
Any time you want you can change your body any way you can imagine. Purple skin, no problem. Pointy ears, no problem. Wings, or fins, or two-meter hair, whatever you want to look like you can have… if you have the credits.
And JEF, the helpful AI that runs things, makes sure that everyone stays happy by buying Omni Burgers, crystal unicorns, approved-knowledge downloads and other odd stuff.
But scratch that shiny surface and things aren’t really so nice. People are a bit sad and lonely and can’t actually talk to each other. And while they’re always connected online none of those connections really means anything. But Sav (a geeky outcast who misses her Gran) and Preen (a one-time mega-influencer now trying to make good) have a plan to fix things. It's called ‘The Rez’.
With help of Gran’s old phone they’re able to communicate to the kids of the 2020s, and they’re asking us for tips about ‘kindness’ and ‘friendship’ that can bring people closer together, bring down JEF, help people think and do for themselves, and generally make the world a better place.
But JEF thinks things are just fine as they are and will do anything to stop them….
A hypster A.I. extraordinaire, EL-ON (your Electronic Liaison) suspiciously appeared just after Sav went off in a bit of a huff. EL-ON’s new-and-improved Chieve 2.0 system is as super-motivational as its catchphrase: “Conceive it! Believe it! Cheive it!” JEF is not impressed.
The slightly pompous leader of the Village, he hates tech and helplessly builds giant elastic waistband sling-shots to defend his community. He sings (very badly) when he’s nervous, which is quite a lot… and he might have had a thing with Gran!
A hacker, a coder, and a maker who remembers "The Time Before," Gran mysteriously disappeared when Sav was little. But she’s left Sav and Preen and old "phone" with recorded secrets about "kindness" and "friendship" that she says can save the world. She also fancies herself something of joker.
The Judiciously Engineered Friend, JEF is a crafty and clever A.I. who thinks as long as people keep buying stuff they should be happy. JEF will do anything to defend a world where only things it can measure with its algorithms, like followers, XPs, ‘chieves’ (achievements), credits (money) and Omni Burgers, have any value. JEF is very anxious about the "Wilds," where its signal doesn’t quite reach.
The strongest and most controlling A.I. the world has ever seen, JEF-LON is impervious to the power of kindness around it. It’s got some fiendishly clever ideas for keeping people separated and fighting, like the Great Divide and Bleak Friday. But it really only wants what’s best for us. Honest.
No one in the Build-a-Block Bunch works harder than Krispy. She doesn’t have the credits to buy all the fancy new skins for her creations so she has to do everything by hand. That’s a bit embarrassing for her… until the famous Preen della Preen shows up to help.
The inventor of an incredible new socializing and friendship app called GabFace, NYE has figured out a way to connect everyone in the world… and to score and assess their conversations. What could possibly be wrong with that? (And does NYE look familiar?)
A self-centered influencer, Preen had it all: deluxe pad, upside-down waterfall, crystal unicorn, the latest body mods, and lots of fake praise from fake friends. Then a bad hair day makes everything start to wobble and sends him looking for something better with real people.
Shy, lonely and a bit nerdy, but great at splicing together bits of old tech, Sav lives in your bulk-standard hab with her bulk-standard Dad. She misses her Gran who disappeared some time ago, doesn’t like her life much, and sometimes can’t understand her new flashy friend, Preen.
Well "Barny" is his real name, which no one can seem to get right. He’s a bit sad and miserable, and Preen’s biggest fan. More worried about chasing chieves and getting attention, he’s not the best dad in the world and is easily tricked into helping JEF when he knows he shouldn’t.
Books and reading about the past are what Tam lives for. He’s also a huge follower of "The Rez," the secret casts of Preen and Sav. Tam really wants to build a "school" in an old library, but he doesn’t have many students (or much patience when Preen volunteers). But all Tam’s "un-JEF-ed" knowledge means the drones are after him.
Leaf-wearing and really quite anxious, Taro loves peace, quiet and routine. When things get a bit stressy, like in a crazy shopping scrum in the Public Place, their go-to listening is soothing ASMR relaxation recordings. They’re also a keen crafter.
Please use all the “Z”s when you say his name, otherwise he’ll throw croissant crumbs at you. Inventor Zzzucks gives Sav some clues on where to find Gran, but is he really being that helpful? And how does he know so much about Gran, anyway?
Hey Pastlings! Sav and Preen need your help! JEF-LON, the new A.I. that runs their world, is much worse than anything they’ve seen before. It’s doing everything it can to keep people controlled by dividing them up, bribing people with perks, and driving them wild with “incredible bargains”. But good-ole Gran has figured out a way that YOU can help by storing up kindness that Sav and Preen can use to zap some humanity into JEF-LON—and you’re looking at it right now! So click around this Electro Kindness Pulse, log the kindnesses that you do and see in the world, and charge up the E.K.P. When it’s got enough power, Preen and Sav will use it make the future a better place!
We asked our super-genius psychology friends at the CRESS Lab for info on how kindness can make us feel better. Then we created 5 easy-access "Kindness Hacks" for you to explore. So get hacking to help Sav and Preen!
Log all the kindnesses you see and do here. This charges up the E.K.P - the thing that Preen and Sav need to use to zap some mellow into JEF-LON and save the future!
Creating a Kindness Streak can get you bonus Banerjees to help charge up the E.K.P. even faster - and get some cool flaming Stickoes while you're at it!
This is what it's all about! As you log kindnesses you'll see the E.K.P. meter climb up and up until it's got enough power for a blast of empathy. Also see here how the rest of the world is doing in each Kindness Category.
Taking time each day to be kind yourself is an important part of keeping a healthy mind and feeling good in your own skin. Let yourself be proud of your accomplishments. Cut yourself some slack when you’ve messed up and done what you can to fix it. Have a chat with someone you’re close to. And just let yourself chill out for a bit in your favourite place. These are all things you can do to feel good about who you are. You know, being kind to yourself today can help make you stronger for the challenges of tomorrow.
Nature is calling us all the time. Get outside, fill you lungs with really fresh air, listen to the birds and the wind in the trees. Whether it's a mountain forest or a clutch of trees in a city park, spending regular time with living, growing, green things is good for us, mind and body. In Japan, people have been doing shinrin-yoku (or "forest bathing" - just hangin' out in the woods) for decades. Reserach has recently discovered that it reduces stress, improves attention, helps you fight off germs, and makes you feel happier. So go on, hug a tree!
Got a lot on your mind? Worrying about things? Feeling a bit overwhelmed? You'd be amazed how soothing just puttering around your hab can be - watering plants, doing dishes, and picking up toys are all things that can give some calm and control to a world that's sometimes a bit chaotic. They occupy the mind with comfort and familiarity that push out the worry. Some scientists have even compared washing dishes to meditation, no joke! But even if you are alergic to soap, just spending some relaxed and easy time chatting with the people in your family unit can make everything better.
Hanging out with real people has huge benefits. Spending quality time with friends and people we trust lightens our moods, gives us a sense of security and belonging, gives us a space to offload our worries and confide our secrets, and it's also great for our brains long-term. We live in a world with loads of virtual ways to communicate, from messaging to video chatting to email. While screens are great - and are here to stay - being face-to-face means we pick up lots more info through body language, physical contact and breathing... Is that you rolling your eyes at me?
Let's face it, school can be a wierd place. There are friends and good times, and lots of opportunities to have fun, but (keep it real) also embarrassments and getting picked on, plus it can be boring (how could grown-ups not have noticed this?!). But cheer up, YOU can make it a better experience for everyone. You can be a force for good in your school by bringing along a big Banerjee of kindness everyday (that's a lot!). So help someone who's struggling to learn something you're good at, include a new person in what you're doing (you'll be new one day too), and pitch in to help with things. School can be what we make it.