Working together for education and well-being Although our home base is firmly routed in the North of the Netherlands, we have built up a large network of international cooperation partners…
The serious game Dignity gets young people thinking about sexual boundaries. In the game, they follow Alysha and Stein, who do not communicate well about this and therefore unintentionally cross each other’s boundaries. The question for teenagers: where exactly do you think things went wrong?
Adolescents test their limits in many areas. At the same time, they discover their own sexuality. An exciting period in which they discover and experiment a lot, but also a time in which things can go very wrong. For instance, an adolescent often finds it difficult to recognise their own boundaries when it comes to sexuality – or even to make these known to others.
What does someone mean by a sexy photo via Whatsapp? Does it always mean that someone also likes you in real life? Young people often do not know which signals they are sending themselves and find it difficult to interpret other people’s signals. Where is the limit? Together with GGD Friesland care workers and adolescents, we have developed a game that starts a conversation about these kinds of issues: Dignity.
It was a nice challenge to match the game’s look and feel as closely as possible to the target group’s perception. We let the teenagers co-determine the design of the characters and involved health professionals from the GGD Friesland to select the most pressing topics. Important was that the game would not be preachy, but that teenagers playfully discover how to act in different situations. And especially: how this relates to another person’s wishes and boundaries.
In the game, you follow Alysha. After a party, she wakes up in a strange bed. She wants to go home as soon as possible, but is missing her belongings. She searches the house for her clothes, bag and shoes. As she searches, she recalls what happened the previous night and how she lost her things. You see how she meets up with a boy, that she goes upstairs with him, that she doesn’t want to go further but does so anyway. Both the boy and the girl cross their own boundary as well as the other person’s in the game. After playing, students can discuss in class where they think things go wrong. Should Alyshia not have accepted free drinks? Or is this boy Stein just way too pushy? Even during the testing phase, this inspired very interesting discussions among the teenagers. Not about ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and not preachy, but about acknowledging and recognising different boundaries. And that is exactly the point!