A video game created by students at Champlain College in 2010 is now being played around the world to teach children about healthy attitudes towards girls and women.
The soccer-themed game, Breakaway, which is intended for boys and girls aged 9-15, places players in different scenarios involving relationships between men and women. In one of the game’s scenes, a girl is abducted, forced into a locker, and forced to endure abuse and bullying. The game, which has now been played in 185 countries, seeks to help young children around the world understand healthy relationships by forcing them to make decisions when presented with dilemmas.
The game’s outlandish scenarios are intended to illustrate sexist behaviors, primarily towards women. So far, their research has concluded that 86% of young children playing the game make the right decision when faced with one of the game’s scenarios.
Over 150 professional and student developers from around the world contributed to help make the game a reality. They have received funding from the United Nations Development Programme.
Although the game has already been played in nearly 200 countries, the team behind the game is looking to expand further by winning the “Womanity Award” for 2016 which would provide them with $300,000 to develop a mobile version of the game, and localized versions for towns in South Africa.
According to statistics, gender violence is a significant problem in South Africa, with a woman being killed by a male sex partner as frequently as every eight hours. According to the same research center, 37% of men in the Gauteng Province of South Africa admit to having raped at least one woman.
The team behind Breakaway believes that their game will continue to play a significant role in shaping the attitudes and perspectives of young boys and girls as it continues to expand to different areas around the world.