A unique suite of online resources that aims to promote community-wide understanding and advancement of children’s wellbeing was launched at Griffith University’s South Bank campus on Thursday, May 5.
The first of its kind in Australia, the RealWell initiative is overseen by Professor Ross Homel and Dr Kate Freiberg from the Griffith Criminology Institute.
A core component of RealWell is an interactive video game called Rumble’s Quest which measures child wellbeing and was developed by Dr Freiberg.
“From height and weight to academic and sporting success, children are measured in many ways, but one important aspect of a child’s development that doesn’t have a tool for easy measurement is wellbeing,’’ she said.
“Wellbeing is subjective and complex but it’s also a great indicator of positive, healthy development. If children’s wellbeing is diminished then we can see things like depression, anxiety, loss of self-control and other behavioural issues.
“It’s critical to identify and respond to child wellbeing issues early before they turn into mental health problems, disengagement, or delinquency.”
“What’s great about Rumble’s Quest is that it gives children the opportunity to report their own feelings and sense of wellbeing as they journey through the game,’’ Dr Freiberg said.
As children play Rumble’s Quest they guide an avatar through the game’s interactive landscape, accompanied by an animal companion. As they progress, the creature asks questions designed to obtain a detailed measure of the child’s social-emotional wellbeing.
“The measurement package provides reporting tools to assist in needs assessment, program planning, and evaluation at individual, school or community levels. It also has potential to be used as a social indicator of child wellbeing at a national level.”
The measure has been tested with thousands of children throughout Queensland and is now ready to be implemented in schools and communities.
“The aim is to support school and community efforts to understand children’s needs and take positive action based on their data to help children flourish.”