How did you learn about sex in high school? Were you packed into a stuffy auditorium? Sent to the broken-down portable three times a year to hear about the dangers of sex, drugs, and alcohol? Were you shown graphic pictures of infections? Did you put a condom on a banana? Was it boring? Did it make you care about practicing safer sex?
Times have changed, but the way youth learn about sex hasn’t. Despite a shiny new sexual health curriculum and dozens of studies confirming what we all knew as teens – that boring lectures and pictures of infected genitals don’t help people to practice safer sex – most youth in Ottawa still receive the same type of sexual health education that we got years or decades ago.
Research shows that youth turn to the internet for information about safer sex. But Googling “condom” or “chlamydia” can be a tricky business — you’re more likely to find porn than fact-based sexual health information. Few of the credible resources available online are written for youth, and even fewer involve games or activities to engage young people and help them learn something useful.
That’s where you, the clever folks at Random Hacks of Kindness, come in. We’d like you to help us turn our highly successful “STI Puzzle” into an online game to be hosted on our new website launching Spring 2017. Here are some pictures of the hard copy version of the puzzle game in action: https://goo.gl/65KaLF.
The game was designed to help youth learn about sexually transmitted infections in a hands-on way. We’ve used it with hundreds of high schools students. Now we’d like to share it with the online community.
We picture youth clicking into the game and finding all but a few of the puzzle pieces scattered around the outer edges of the frame. They drag and drop the pieces into place using the shape of the puzzle pieces – and their existing knowledge of STIs – for guidance. If they try to put a piece in the wrong spot, it bounces back to its original home on the outer edge of the frame. As sections of the puzzle are successfully completed, information is unlocked via pop-ups: pictures of the equipment used to test for STIs, information on how and where to get tested in Ottawa, etc. While the game would be primarily for use on computers or mobile devices, it could also be used in the classroom by teachers who have access to smart boards.