Rhode Island Hospital Develops Game to Prevent Dating Violence

Rhode Island Hospital researchers hope to reach male adolescents about dating violence education and prevention through video games.

Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. The National Institute of Justice is sponsoring researchers at Rhode Island Hospital to develop a game on partner violence prevention, with early adolescent boys as the target audience. The grant states:

The aim of the proposed study is to develop and refine a web-based intervention that reduces the risk of dating violence among middle-school aged males. 

The game is to serve as an intervention that will promote both education and parental involvement in the teen's development.

The intervention will address gender-specific risk factors (e.g., peer aggression) for dating violence through delivery of six interactive modules that focus on emotion regulation and parent-teen communication. 

The leader of the Rhode Island Hospital researchers, Christie Rizzo explains that previous efforts had been targeted towards reaching adolescent girls.  This new study approaches the issue from a new angle:

One of the things I’ve recognized is that there’s not enough out there for adolescent boys.  We need to create more for adolescent boys, from anger management to general relationship skills to how you manage jealousy in a relationship.

This program is based off of the statistical research that video game playing is one of the most prevalent activities in teens, boys especially.

Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015

As a result, video games could be an effective vehicle for education.  

The hope is that adolescent boys will be more receptive to learning about dating violence prevention when presented in an interactive, web-based game and/or video context.  Young people are the main focus for this project since violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, one of the people who secured the funding for this project, said:

I am happy to see federal funding coming to Rhode Island to research this serious problem.

Published Jun. 6th 2015
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  • Stan Rezaee
    Featured Contributor
    A very noble concept that has a lot of potential to help people. Kudos to the team for making this possible.

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