A pilot interactive online game is giving new parents valuable information and a safe environment to test their parenting decisions.
Developed by a team of researchers at the University of Newcastle, the m-health* game for parents in the first postnatal year, aims to equip parents with tips and knowledge to help them on their parenting journey.
Choose your Own Parenting Experience (COPE)’ is a fun, interactive, game-based experience modelled on the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ format, designed to be played on a mobile phone.
The game, developed by researchers Jaime Wroe and Miranda Cashin, is designed to make psychoeducation fun and interactive; and allow new parents to make choices and test them out in a safe learning environment.
“Being a new parent is not an easy gig. There is so much conflicting information about how to best care for your baby and everyone is an expert and wants to give you their opinion. As a new parent how do you know what to?” Ms Cashin said.
“We know from the research that psychoeducation has been shown to help parents in the transition to parenthood,” Ms Cashin said.
“However, there are lots of barriers in the way of engagement. This game directly reaches parents via their mobile phone and allows them to play at their own pace and really choose their own experience.”
The ‘Choose your Own Parenting Experience’ game is currently in the pilot testing phase.
The team has developed the game with two scenarios that together have hundreds of different possible pathways for parents to explore.
While the game is evidenced-based, the research team acknowledges it needs to work for parents in the real world. They are inviting parents to take part in the pilot study and test the game.
“We need parents to play it and give us feedback on what works, what doesn’t work and how we can improve the game. This will help us to develop a final product of the game.”
Ultimately, the plan is to develop the ‘Choose your Own Parenting Experience’ game into a mobile app.
* M-health is the use of mobile phones in health-based communication and games.