Game to help youth navigate dating

Teenagers Justin Campbell, Sarah-Leigh Bokwe, Sam Edgcumbe , Taro Reece, and Caleb Bokwe playing Viva Dating Game,  a  board game with a focus on  life skills. / JACKIE CLAUSEN
Teenagers Justin Campbell, Sarah-Leigh Bokwe, Sam Edgcumbe , Taro Reece, and Caleb Bokwe playing Viva Dating Game, a board game with a focus on life skills. / JACKIE CLAUSEN

A KwaZulu-Natal woman has created a dating board game for teenagers.

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.

It is aimed at those over 12 years and involves two to six players.

"Players have fun while developing their life skills through the game," Massyn said.

"Viva Dating Game brings the outside real world 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."

She said it was through her own experiences and interaction with friends and family that 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," Massyn said.

"It's a fun, interactive board game to play at home and school with family or friends. Players, namely school children, have fun while learning life skills at the same time.

"Teachers and parents will find it a great ice breaker because it will help them to bring up sensitive topics and will help to expand knowledge.

"Viva Dating Game promotes discussion and stimulates innovative thinking and practice. Teachers and parents can use the board game to ask thought-provoking questions and promote interest in life skills." Massyn is now in her final year of studies as a foundation phase teacher.

She said among the objectives of the game was to promote healthy behaviour lifestyle and decision making, effective communication and problem solving." 

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