After taking kids on a scientific adventure with Ava & Trix (link in Dutch) and teaching them all about electrical currents with the in development Bulb (link in Dutch), proud FLEGA member and serious game developer Curious Cats is also creating Silver, which aims to build mental resilience among teenagers.
Growing up isn’t easy. The process of evolving from a naive and carefree child into a responsible adolescent with dreams and desires while coping with the expectations of modern society is tough. It’s no surprise, then, that this path sometimes takes its toll on the mental health of our youngsters.
A lot of Flemish teenagers battle dark thoughts along the bumpy road towards adulthood and 20 percent even say to have had suicidal thoughts. To counter those alarming numbers, ministers of Welzijn Jo Vandeurzen commanded a project to help teenagers build mental resilience.
What better way to reach the target demographic of 12-16 year olds than a video game? It wasn’t the most straightforward of briefings but Curious Cats tackled the challenge head-on. Together with VLESP (Flemish Centre of Expertise in Suicide Prevention) they developed a prototype based around cognitive thought patterns.
Silver learns players to distinguish positive from negative thoughts by confronting them with recognisable situations of their everyday life. The game uses cute, funny characters living in a fictional world as to not hit too close to home, but the challenges they face are very real.
Getting anxious to speak in front of the class or worrying about the lack of social media likes, their brain brews up all kinds of thoughts. The goal for teenagers is to learn about the different thought patterns and learn to shut out the ones that won’t help them.
While the first results are very encouraging (with the amount of negative thoughts decreasing after only one week of playing the game), the developers plan to broaden the scope of the project and include emotional behaviour and problem solving in a later stage. The endgame is to put the positive power of Silver to work in all Flemish schools and youth care institutions.