With recent findings determining that one in three 14-year-olds has experienced physical, sexual or psychological abuse within a dating relationship, rising to 44 percent by the time American young people graduate from college, teen dating violence (TDV) is a serious and widespread problem that continues to take parents and their children by surprise. In an effort to educate and prevent teen dating violence, the non-profit Jennifer Ann’s Group has been producing video games to stop TDV for the past nine years. Today, the nonprofit organization announces the winners of its ninth annual “Life. Love. Game Design Challenge.”
After Drew Crecente’s 18-year-old daughter was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, he founded Jennifer Ann’s Group to increase awareness about teen dating violence as well as provide educational information to help teens, tweens, and young adults identify and avoid abusive relationships. The non-profit started out by distributing leaflets, bookmarks and other printed materials across the United States, but since 2008, it has been running a game design challenge, and the interactive approach is working.
Research has shown that the most difficult thing for teenagers is seeking or accepting help. To that end, exploring concepts behind relationship abuse through games, at their own pace and often outside the classroom, has proven to be more effective than traditional pen-and-paper learning on the subject in a school environment.
The “Life.Love. Game Design Challenge” has received worldwide attention since its inception by challenging game designers and developers to create video games designed to prevent teen dating violence. Once again, the annual challenge received registrations from around the world, including Argentina, Canada, France, India, Philippines, Malaysia, Tunisia, Turkey, UK, USA, Sweden and Vietnam.
Winners of the 9th Annual Life.Love. Game Design Challenge
· First Place ($8,000 prize) – “The Room Beneath the Rafters” – Luciano Sgarbi – UK / Sweden
· Second Place ($2,000 prize) – “Leaving” – Greg Heath-Kelly (Tetsudo) – UK
· Third Place ($800prize) – “Honeymoon” – Sandra Lara Castillo (SNDR) – UK
· Door Prize ($200 prize) – “A Casual Chat” – Andreas Lopez (Sphere 9) – USA
Jennifer Ann’s Group
Jennifer Ann’s Group is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization preventing teen dating violence through awareness, education, and advocacy. The organization has been instrumental in the passing of legislation mandating teen dating violence awareness in schools and has distributed over a half-million free educational materials to schools, churches, and other organizations throughout the U.S. and U.K. at no cost to the recipients.
On February 15, 2006, Jennifer Ann Crecente, a high school senior, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Jennifer was an honor roll student in high school, a camp counselor, a hospital volunteer, and participated in community theatre with her dad. Jennifer Ann’s Group is run by her father.