Game to keep young people safe across Europe
Published: 19 September 2016 at 12:00
E-learning tool aims to help protect vulnerable children from neglect and abuse
An online game to ensure young people in Europe know about child protection services will be launched this week in London.
The Keep Me Safe in Europe (KMSE) e-learning tool is a collaboration led by Anglia Ruskin University and the University of East London. It was co-designed and co-produced by groups of young people based in the UK, Cyprus and Greece who have knowledge and experience of the care system and young asylum seekers.
These three groups were trained and supported to run events with vulnerable young people in the development of storylines and scenarios to populate the game, which is based on real-life situations and perceptions of accessing early routes for help with neglect and abuse.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than one million people crossed into Europe in 2015, compared to 280,000 the previous year.
The game, available on several platforms including Android, iPhone and Windows, is designed to keep young people moving across the continent safely by providing a fun, culturally-specific and multi-lingual platform to understand and locate sources of help in new and challenging environments.
The game allows the player to navigate their way around a town, dealing with problems that life throws at them, from bullying at school to dealing with a family break-up. The aim is to guide the character to the right buildings and people, to seek advice and help to deal with the problems faced.
The interactive launch event takes place in Central London and will feature a demonstration of the game, presentation by the young game innovators, innovation labs focused on aspects of the game world, and a panel discussion.
Professor Tim Waller
, Professor of Child and Family Studies at Anglia Ruskin, said:
“More people are on the move than ever across Europe and this includes thousands of children and young people who are particularly vulnerable. There is currently no uniformed child protection system in place within the EU to keep children and young people safe from harm.
“Wherever they find themselves, they need to be aware of how to locate and access help if they are experiencing problems of neglect or abuse in a new country. This interactive game is designed to be both fun and informative, and the project team has worked with young people to ensure the scenarios within the game are realistic.
“We have equipped three groups of young people to help disseminate and promote the new resources throughout the EU.”
Darren Sharpe, Senior Research Fellow at the University of East London, said:
“Regardless of Brexit, wherever we find young people in Europe, they need to be aware of how to locate and access help if they are experiencing problems of neglect or abuse in a new country.
“This interactive game is designed to be both fun and informative, and the project team has worked with young people to ensure the scenarios within the game are realistic.”
The project is a collaboration between Anglia Ruskin, UEL, Walsall Council, European University Cyprus and the South-East European Research Centre. It was funded by the European Union’s Erasmus Plus programme.
If you would like to attend the launch event, which takes place at ARU London, 19 Charterhouse Street, EC1N 6RA from 12pm until 4pm on Wednesday, 21 September, book online at kmse.open-lab.com