Detective on a mission: an educational video game on children's rights

On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the International Bureau for Children's Rights has embarked on an innovative project: the creation of a video game to educate girls and boys in Canada and elsewhere on their universal and fundamental rights. .

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By the International Bureau for Children's Rights

On the occasion of its 25e anniversary and to celebrate the 30 years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Bureau for Children's Rights (IBCR, the Bureau) has embarked on an innovative project: the creation of a video game to playfully sensitize girls and boys in Canada and elsewhere on their universal and fundamental rights.

While it is recognized that young people handle new technologies early and devote time and interest to them, no online tool is dedicated to children's rights in Quebec and Canada. Moreover, the Convention and its articles are little known to children and the general public. The IBCR therefore wished to remedy this situation by creating a video game intended for children, and produced with them: "Detective on a mission for the rights of the child". The very first educational video game of its kind, it aims to educate children and encourage them to exercise their role as citizens within society for real and lasting changes.

Video game creation background

The Bureau entrusted the technical creation of the game to the École Polytechnique de Montréal, which accepted the project as part of its Study program. Four students thus tackled this task for several months, as a professionalizing project. The graphics were taken care of by three students from the École Nationale des Arts et Métiers ParisTech (France).

One of the guidelines of the IBCR being to place children at the heart of the promotion of their rights, the design of the video game was made with the participation of two elementary classes from the Montreal schools of Sainte-Cécile and Saint- Fabien. The mobilization of children was thus integrated into the framework of the “Ethics and religious culture” program offered to all elementary and secondary students in Quebec.

The involvement of children throughout the implementation of this project was essential and was reflected in the different stages of the design, development and promotion of the game. It made it possible to integrate their points of view. and their perspectives so that each child can recognize himself and want to evolve in the game. In this process of participation, valuing the contribution and creativity of children was just as important as strengthening their power to play. action, both at the individual and social level.

Involvement of children

Two days of meetings were initially organized in order to allow children to discover the Convention on the Rights of the Child through playful activities and to collect their ideas on the rights to be emphasized more in the game. The goal of this exercise was to discuss situations that seemed unfair to them, in order to be able to illustrate them through the game.

The children were thus led to reflect together on the different characteristics of the game. This dynamic exchange enabled the four students from Polytechnique Montréal to take into account the observations and remarks of the students in order to create a relevant prototype.

Following these meetings, Polytechnique Montréal students were able to offer different play concepts to children. A work of reflection on the tone and the content adapted to this particular audience was undertaken in parallel by the team of the IBCR to formulate the concepts and the texts of the game in a way comprehensible to the children of the age bracket. target age (7-11 years).

Once the game was in its final stages, the students who participated in its creation were invited to play it. The Bureau then organized a meeting with each class to collect their comments on the game and possible avenues for improvement, as well as on their experience of participating in such a project. During these meetings, the children were very keen on the positive points of the game as on the elements to rethink. Adjustments could be made to the game in the coming months to improve it and ensure children have the best possible experience.

Game features

This is an investigative game in which the main character "Detective Pinpin" is confronted with several unfair situations with regard to children's rights. Several actions are then proposed to react to the situation. The objective is to choose, among the proposals, the action that the character finds the best to resolve the injustice. When the child chooses the best proposal, he goes to the next level and gets a gold trophy. Each of the five levels represents a situation specific to the daily life of young people, such as sports training or the use of social networks.

Designed for children aged 7 to 11, the game is available free online at https://jeu.ibcr.org/ (in French).

Official launch

Involved in all stages of creation, the children were also entrusted with the official launch of the game. Saint-Fabien school having professional radio recording equipment, the event took the form of an animated radio program. by two students of 4e year, Anaïs and Xavier, mixing interviews with members of the IBCR and the Polytechnic of Montreal, reports on the rights of the child and feedback from the students of each school on their experience of participation in this project.

The young presenters animated the program with professionalism, both in the presentation of the context of creation of the video game and in the questions put to the guests. The moments of discussion were interspersed with musical breaks related to children's rights. An emotional moment for the audience and the stakeholders involved, which could be shared with the entire Saint-Fabien school, since the program was broadcast live throughout the school.

To listen to the radio broadcast, it's this way.

Next steps

The game will initially be distributed to school boards in Quebec, community organizations and child protection organizations. He will be accompanied by a supporting document introducing the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the instructions for use of the game. Although it can be played independently by children, the game can also be integrated into educational programs or educational activities. awareness raising for the promotion and protection of children's rights.

In a second phase, the IBCR plans to translate the game into several languages for worldwide distribution, notably through partner organizations of the Bureau.

To see a short presentation of the game, it's this way.

On the same subject, Carrefour education offers educational activities to do in class: Children's rights, here and elsewhere as well as Understanding in order to act: children's rights.

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