Conectado, a video game to raise awareness about bullying and cyberbullying at school

Conectado is a graphic adventure where the player puts himself in the situation of a person who suffers bullying on a daily basis in his school. In Online the player goes through 5 days, where he has to start in a new high school and make friends. Over the course of the days, the teammates he knows will turn their backs on him and interfere with him, both in person and through social networks. In this way, the player, in a safe way, experiences what it means to be a victim of bullying and cyberbullying. The video game reflects the most common aggressions such as social exclusion, insults, nicknames, publication of images retouched to humiliate and laugh at a person, offensive messages, theft of passwords and material objects, blackmail, and so on. This is intended to increase the empathy of the players towards the victims, as well as to make them reflect on the final consequences of some of these acts by increasing their awareness.

The video game allows working with feelings and empathy and confronts the student with feelings such as helplessness, inferiority, frustration and loneliness through several minigames in the form of nightmares. In these mini-games the player cannot win to increase those feelings. In addition, through the numerous dialogues of the game the player can respond in different ways to decrease the confrontation but never reaches a complete solution of the problem until the end of the game (nor responding violently). In this way it is transmitted to the player that the way to combat bullying and cyberbullying is to ask for help. The main idea is that cyberbullying is a serious social problem that cannot be solved by the player alone.

Conectado has been designed and developed with the teacher’s use in class in mind. It has a duration of about 40 minutes, being perfectly possible its incorporation in an hour of class and giving time to a small discussion guided by the tutor or teacher on the experience that the players live through the videogame. This common experience lived by the students allows the teacher to carry out a reflection session where the students talk and discuss the situation lived within the video game (and in which the educator can raise discussions about whether any of these situations occur in the school and how their students live it). Some of the interactions with the characters as well as with the social network or mobile phone present within the game are simplified, being limited representations of the real systems.