Reach the Beach
Design research, game design
and product design by:
Carmen Lopez, and
Visual design by:
Karina Davila, and
Tanvi Kareer, and
Reach the Beach is a preventative communication tool for teachers and parents to talk to children about appropriate and safe interactions with people.
According to the National Traumatic Stress Network, children starting at 4 years of age are the most at risk to be sexually abused. Often it is by someone they know and trust. This issue is usually addressed only after the abuse has already happened. Our aim was to prevent this abuse by addressing unhealthy interactions that can lead to these abuses.
During the creation of the game, we conducted research by speaking to parents and social workers about the issue. What we found was that many parents feel that they are not ready to talk about these topics because they believe their kids are too young. Parents also thought these topics were addressed at school, therefore they don't feel they need to introduce the topic at home.
Social workers believe this topic is better introduced at an early age. Currently, they use games to address the topic after the abuse has happened, but they do not have many preventative games.
Reach the Beach introduces difficult topics for parents and kids in a fun way, such as: What are private parts, being the boss of your own body, listening to your body feelings, good vs. bad secrets and one's circle of trust. The object of the game to reach the beach as a family, however, in order to get there each player must pick up a few necessary items. On the way to pick up your items you are presented with certain situations through 'situation cards'. The player must then read the card out loud and state how they would handle that particular situation. Other players must them all agree for that player to move forward. If there is disagreement, then the players must discuss why they disagree. Because sometimes parents do not always know what to say, we also provide a guide for parents. This guide also serves as a starting point for conversations if they are not immediately sure what to respond.
Currently, the game is still undergoing prototyping. After play testing within family settings and in game centers we found children enjoyed the story element of game and parents found an opportunity to discuss topics that would otherwise be awkward for them. However, although the moment of conversation is present during gameplay, some of the mechanics of the game still need work.