University of Skövde

Interactive board game “Hidden in the Park”

Researchers at the University of Skövde have developed an interactive board game – Parkgömmet (translates as Hidden in the Park) –  for primary school children. The foundation Change Attitude came up with the idea to let children learn how to navigate risks online through playing a game. Parkgömmet is a physical board game making use of augmented reality through a tablet or smartphone. Each player hides a treasure and there are clues to help them find the hidden treasures. The players have to keep the clues safe so that no one else can find the treasure. But there are chat messages from an unknown player which use different tactics to make the children reveal clues.

The developers at the University of Skövde had access to authentic chat logs from websites where children were contacted by strangers seeking sexual communication, which is unique. While the chat logs have been used to create the game, the actual game does not contain any scary or inappropriate content. However, the game events create a basis for follow-up discussions to raise children’s awareness of online risks. These discussions are led by a teacher or an educator. A prototype of the game has been tested on children with positive results.

Funding from Childhood is being used to complete the game and for research into how the game can be used in the classroom. The goal is that the game can be used in schools, together with teacher-led classroom discussion. Today the game and accompanying methodological material is a collaborative effort between Change Attitude, the University of Skövde and World Childhood Foundation.