Meaningful Play 2016 at Michigan State University

Poster Information

TitleThe Efficacy of a Serious Game Aimed at the Promotion of Positive Bystander Behavior in Cyberbullying among Adolescents: Examining the Role of Player Experience and Player Behavior
Presenter(s)Heidi Vandebosch, Laura Herrewijn, Katrien Van Cleemput, Steven Malliet, Sara Bastiaensens, Frederik Van Broeckhoven, Gaetan Deglorie, Ann Desmet, Sofie Van Hoecke, Koen Samyn, Olga De Troyer, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij and Karolien Poels
SessionConference Reception, Game Exhibition, and Poster Session
TimeThursday, October 20, 7:00p-10:00p
LocationMSU Union Ballroom
FormatPoster Presentation
DescriptionThe paper presents a study on the efficacy of a serious game that aims to promote positive bystander behavior in cyberbullying with 12-14 year old adolescents. The serious game was developed within the scope of an interdisciplinary research project, investigating how ICT-related tools can be effectively used in interventions with regard to cyberbullying amongst adolescents. Digital games are powerful motivational tools and learning environments; their highly interactive and involving context promotes active, critical learning and can stimulate behavior change both within and outside of the game environment. This relationship between the experiential, involving aspect of games and learning and behavior change is often seen as implicit and rarely questioned. Little research has explicitly investigated the relationship between the experiential aspect of games and their potential for learning and behavior change, though. Consequently, the aim of our study is to pay particular attention to how play-related variables such as the player experience (e.g. enjoyment, involvement) and player behavior (e.g. succeeding or failing in the mission, game duration, performing positive/negative bystander behaviors) influence the efficacy of the serious game. In order to do so, a group-randomized controlled trial (GRCT) consisting of three measurement phases (i.e. pre-test, intervention/post-test, follow-up) was designed. This GRCT investigated the effect of the game on bystander behavior when confronted with cyberbullying, as well as its determinants (e.g. beliefs, attitudes, behavioral intentions). Moreover, we specifically measured and took into account both player experiences and behaviors by means of self-report questionnaires and the logging of the players’ gameplay statistics. Results of our study show that playing the serious game had a significant impact on respondents’ attitudes regarding positive and negative bystander behavior in cyberbullying, their self-efficacy regarding how to deal with cyberbullying, and their positive bystander intentions (i.e. their intentions to perform positive bystander behavior when witnessing a cyberbullying event in the future). Moreover, the effect of playing the game differed according to the experiences that respondents encountered and, even more so, the behaviors that they performed in-game. Especially the respondents’ actions when dealing with a cyberbullying event (e.g. aggressively standing up to the bully) and witnessing its consequences in-game proved to have an important effect on the outcome of the intervention. As such, our study provides explicit support for the notion that play-related variables are crucial factors in establishing learning and behavioral outcomes, and should be taken into account when studying the efficacy of a serious game.

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