New online game to help tackle child road deaths
|Published: 21st November 2009 09:38|
An innovative online game to help reduce the number of children killed and injured on Britain's roads was launched today by Road Safety Minister Paul Clark.
'The Code of Everand' uses a virtual world to help children develop skills - such as finding a safe place to cross and planning ahead - which will help them to stay safe in the real world.
These skills are particularly vital for children as they make the transition from primary to secondary school and start making longer journeys on their own. Twice as many 12-year-old than nine-year-old pedestrians are hurt each year on Britain's roads and in 2008, 17 children aged 10-12 were killed on the roads while more than 2,500 were injured.
The multi-player online game is set in the fantasy land of Everand which is criss-crossed by spirit channels, inhabited by dangerous creatures. Players are ‘Pathfinders', the heroes of the society, who travel about the land and are trained to cross the spirit channels safely. In a world first, the game uses real road data so players confront hazards based on the real situations that children face on the roads. The game is free to play here - you must register and log in first.
Paul Clark said: "Our roads are among the safest in the world but the death of any child is one death too many.
"Previous THINK! campaigns have been very effective in teaching young people about road safety and the number of children killed on Britain's roads has fallen by more than 50% since the mid-1990s. Despite this, 17 children aged 10-12 were killed while walking on Britain's roads last year and more than 500 were seriously injured. That is why we need to continue to do everything we can to give children the skills they need to stay safe.
"Today's young people have access to more media than any before and their attitudes to communications have become much more sophisticated. 'The Code of Everand' reflects this sophistication and by communicating with children through a medium they already enjoy using we hope to improve their understanding of the importance of safe road behaviour."
Research has shown that computer games can help children develop essential skills such as logical thinking, planning ahead and cooperation.
THINK! has taken advice from leading figures in education and gaming and has worked with renowned games specialist Area/Code to create 'The Code of Everand'.
In addition to running THINK! campaigns to give children the skills they need to keep safe on the roads the Government is also investing £140m in the Travelling to School project and another £140m in cycling. This includes funding for an extra 500,000 10- year-olds across England to take part in Bikeability cycle training.