Presenter: Ross Shegog, Associate Professor, University of Texas
Few game-based interventions target sexual health and even fewer target parent-youth communication. The presentation describes the development and testing of an online adventure game, ‘The Secret of Seven Stones’ (SSS), to engage parents and youth (11-14 yrs.) to go beyond ‘the sex talk’ to impact youth decisions related to friendships, dating, and sex. SSS, informed by parent-youth dyads and previous empirical data, provides behavioral skills training in 15 domains (drawn from over 1300 learning objectives) encompassing responsible decision making about friendships, dating relationships, and sex. SSS features 18 game levels that include 50 interactive skills training clusters, 54 card ‘battle’ sequences, and 7 game-mediated parent-youth ‘PEP’ talks. As youth play SSS, parents receive progress updates and cues to receive resources to guide communication with their youth. SSS offers insight into an intergenerational gaming approach for health prevention, found feasible for a RCT efficacy trial.