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Videos Games as a Prevention Tool

It's nothing new that one way we try to appeal to youth is by offering educational video games. Typically the topics focus on math, science, reading or history - not that these are not worthy lessons for youth to master. But where are the video games on building skills for sexual violence prevention? Fear not, there's something out there!

Video games? Really?

In a study that used the curriculum, Youth Engaged in Technology (YET), results suggest that technology engages youth in ways that few other programs can. And youth learning improves when they are having fun.

In another study by Lepper and Cordova (1992), findings indicated that games increased youth's attention and learning performance.

So, if technology, fun, and games are important to conveying messages to youth then a video game seems like a great medium.

For Younger Youth

Sydney Safe-Seeker and the Incredible Journey Home is a computer video game for youth ages 5-10. The goal is to prevent youth violence and teach safety skills. Instead of just inundating children with information, this game actively engages them and lets them practice skills. Additionally, parents can monitor their child's strengths and weaknesses in the game and supplement educational materials when needed.

For Older Youth

That's Not Cool recently launched video games to address the pressures of sexting and harassing text messages. "Txt_Invdrs" and "Nude-E Calls" are fun and educational games that give youth tools to respond in their own words to pressures or harassment they experience through digital communication. Continuing the theme of youth empowerment, the website also offers an online forum for teens to share any concerns and have questions answered.

Agent of Change is interactive, online violence prevention training tool that utilizes popular and evidence-informed strategies from the field of violence prevention. The game covers myth acceptance, norms challenging, motivational interviewing, feminist theory, social norms theory, and bystander intervention. This is a new way to reach students, using gaming technology to put students in simulated situations where they are challenged to think about how these problems affect their daily lives and how they can act to change them.

Reviewed: January 12th, 2016