StoryLab – a mobile game that helps children navigate the legal system
Each year, more than half a million children in Europe come in contact with the law. To help them understand the legal proceedings and their rights, Terre des hommes worked with young people to develop StoryLab, an innovative mobile game that guides young players through the workings of the legal system.
Learning by playing
As players in StoryLab, children find themselves in different roles ranging from being victims, witnesses, and perpetrators in various situations, such as a child going through his parents’ divorce, a child having parents working abroad and a child getting into gang fights at school. In the game, they can explore a variety of outcomes, from optimistic (through mediation Peter repays the damage) to rather gloomy endings (Peter lands in jail). This allows players to get accurate knowledge of what happens in judicial proceedings and what their rights are.
“Players also have the option to send e-cards to decision-makers with messages about their opinion of the judicial system for children”, says Judit Németh-Almasi, Deputy Head of Tdh Regional Office.
Child participation at the heart of our project
Together with our partners, we worked with 160 young people in Romania, Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria in order to develop StoryLab. First, they learned more about the justice system: how it works, who are the players, and what are the laws. They visited court rooms, talked with judges, prosecutors, probation and police officers, and guardians. “I greatly appreciated the interaction with the specialists, and that we could think and exchange freely,” tells Radu, a young boy from Romania. Then, they chose the stories, provided ideas and feedback on the design, animation, and the way characters look, and decided on the title of the game.
During the launching events, children who were involved in the project presented the game and shared their recommendations on how the justice system could improve, including the way professionals work and communicate with children. “Never forget! If a child trusts you, she will have the courage to speak and share her problems”, was the message of a teenage girl in Hungary to professionals working with children.
“The idea of this game is great and I wish more kids could find out about it. Because it is about the violence and neglect which are happening everywhere around us”, said a Croatian youngster.
StoryLab - Know your rights!
The game is available in English, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Croatian and Italian, and reflects the national legislative frameworks of the respective countries. In the future, players will be able to explore new situations, the context of other countries, and also use the augmented reality feature.
Photo credit: © Tdh