The play2PREVENT™ Lab brings together the expertise of a wide array of individuals, including scientists, community leaders, educators, and video game technologists. Our goal is to develop and evaluate video games that focus on prevention in at-risk children, teens, and young adults.
The focus of this lab is the use of “play” in the form of video game play, for the purposes of education, risk reduction, and prevention interventions.
play2PREVENT™ builds on the field of serious health-related games. The play2PREVENT™ Lab has its genesis in an HIV prevention project funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to develop and evaluate an interactive video game designed to provide at-risk young teens the opportunity to acquire and practice skills in order to avoid or reduce their risk behaviors. The goal is that this reduction in risk will then translate to preventing new cases of HIV. In general, players will rehearse refusal and negotiation skills that help them to make better decisions in real life.
It is clear that young teens (as well as many other age groups) are already engaged in video game play. If this is where they are, then they are a captive audience and our goal is to bring the interventions to them as opposed to requiring them to come to the interventions.
Video games possess several advantages as a method of delivering educational information or an intervention. They are engaging, they allow the player to repeatedly practice or rehearse a new skill, and they are transportable—potentially traveling with the player via cell phone or other mobile device.
play2PREVENT™ will serve as a growing resource for education and interventions directed at prevention efforts in the realm of HIV, substance use, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, obesity, unsafe driving, gambling, and other conditions and behaviors that are of particular concern for these younger age groups.