Criminology and Criminal Justice


Van Wyk, Judy

Advisor Department

Sociology and Anthropology




Educational Videogames; Adolescents; Relationships

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


Children and adolescents often do not recognize unhealthy behaviors in their friendships and relationships because they have normalized these interactions and are unsure of how to seek help. We created a text-based video game that educates adolescents about peer and family relationship violence as well as possible responses. The video game allows the player to choose between different storylines that reflect various types of relationships and then make choices for their character as they progress through the storyline. The various storylines include bullying, friendships, romantic relationships, and family violence. Every narrative’s outcome depends on the ability of the player to seek proper resources. The choices of the user affect the ending of their storyline which will teach them about different behaviors in relationships and the options they may use themselves to potentially escape abuse. We have chosen to integrate the symbolic interactionism theory into our research and design by emphasizing peer communication and interaction as a main source of learning for children. We have highlighted situations that may define how children understand the world and then created decisions that can either help these children create a new understanding or strengthen their old one. Our study collects feedback from college students after they have played the game to ascertain how impactful the interactive educational game experience could be on educating youth about relationship violence. Their feedback will also focus on improvements that could be made to the game. Results and policy implications will be discussed.

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