Board game helps SA teens learn about healthy relationships

27 November 2017 - 12:04 By Taschica Pillay
 Teacher-to-be Janice Massyn has designed a dating board game for teens.
Teacher-to-be Janice Massyn has designed a dating board game for teens.
Image: Jackie Clausen

A KwaZulu-Natal woman has created a dating board game for teenagers to help them navigate relationship pitfalls in real life.

Janice Massyn‚ a nurse from Pietermaritzburg‚ created Viva Dating Game‚ using the snakes and ladders concept with players racing to the finish.

The game‚ which is being piloted at a few schools in northern KwaZulu-Natal‚ is about helping the youth to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationships and guide them in the right direction in their lives. It is aimed at those over 12 years old and can be played by two to six players.

Viva Dating Game brings real world [issues] into the classroom and home. For example‚ if your partner is on drugs - how does that affect you and your relationship?
Janice Massyn

“Players have fun while developing their life skills through the game. Viva Dating Game brings real world [issues] into the classroom and home. For example‚ if your partner is on drugs - how does that affect you and your relationship? And if you are drinking heavily‚ how will that affect your friendships with your family and friends? The game covers social issues such as HIV‚ drug and alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy‚” said Massyn.

She said it was through her own experiences and her interaction with friends and family‚ she decided to come up with a game.

“Many of the stories on my cards are based on real life. The board game reinforces book learning. It’s a fun‚ interactive board game to play at home and school with family or friends. Players‚ especially school children‚ have fun while learning life skills at the same time.

"Teachers and parents will find it a great icebreaker because it will help them to bring up sensitive topics and will help to expand knowledge. The game promotes discussion and stimulates innovative thinking and practice. Teachers and parents can use the boardgame to ask thought-provoking questions and promote interest in life skills‚” said Massyn‚ who is in her final year of studies as a foundation phase teacher.

She said objectives of the game were to promote positive healthy behaviour lifestyle and decision making‚ effective communication and problem solving‚ developing positive thinking and a positive attitude‚ oracy and literacy‚ increasing vocabulary‚ learning to follow instructions and to take turns‚ developing social skills‚ to stimulate thinking‚ learning how to win and lose‚ and to promote unity and a feeling of connection among players. - TimesLIVE

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