Published:  09:17 PM, 20 September 2017

This video game helping teenagers understand sexual health better

This video game helping teenagers understand sexual health better
Designed by researchers at Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut, US, PlayForward: Elm City Stories, is a serious role-playing video game that engages youth with a variety of challenges and choices in fictional yet realistic life situations.

If you thought video games are bad, here’s a different take. A video game is helping teenagers to promote their knowledge of sexual health as well as improving risky behaviour, a study shows.

Designed by researchers at Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut, US, PlayForward: Elm City Stories, is a serious role-playing videogame that engages youth with a variety of challenges and choices in fictional yet realistic life situations.

In the study, teenagers who participated in the PlayForward game, demonstrated improvements in sexual health attitudes, knowledge, intention to initiate sex, and sexual activity than participants who played other non-intervention games.

The findings, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, validated that the video game can act as an accessible and portable tool to engage and educate teens at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“We saw significant and sustained positive changes in terms of attitudes about sexual health and sexual health knowledge,” said Lynn Fiellin, Associate Professor at the varsity. For the study, the team recruited more than 300 students, aged 11 to 14 in the US, to play the intervention game PlayForward: Elm City Stories, or one of several unrelated video games on iPad tablets for up to 75 minutes twice per week.

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