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Young people building social supports through goals is In the Spotlight

by PeakCare Qld on 17th February 2016

Home -> Articles -> 2016 -> February -> Young people building social supports through goals is In the Spotlight

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Researchers passionate about the wellbeing of young people have developed a modern twist on the game ‘Truth or Dare’ to encourage young people in building their social networks and setting goals. Named Goalzie, this recently released free app was developed by the Safe and Well Online project, a collaboration of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, the University of South Australia, the Western Sydney University, Digital Advertising Agency, Zuni and the Queensland University of Technology.

Young people were significantly involved in the creation of Goalzie. 13 year old Diya Mehta, one of the campaign members involved in its design and production, stated: “Young people were fully immersed in the creative process, testing, improving and designing the app themselves. This all presents itself in the app; an important way for people to connect with themselves and others, all through a creative and playful medium.”

Designed to encourage peer-to-peer interactions and goal-setting by giving players the opportunity to challenge friends and be challenged by them, Goalzie targets young people aged 12 to 17 years. Various types of challenges can be given or received as part of the ‘Truth or Dare’ game. These include physical options such as dance or those that encourage creativity such as making a Vine Video. Self-regulation challenges such as giving up specific treats are also possible. The game then allows players to set fun consequences for unachieved goals such as performing productive tasks along the lines of washing the car or weeding the garden.

Professor Judy Drennan is leader of the Services Innovation Research Program within the Faculty of Business at the Queensland University of Technology. She has a particular research interest and experience in the impact of technological interventions on the wellbeing of young people and was part of the team that developed Goalzie. She notes that the Safe and Well Online team developed this mobile app to encourage young people to seek help for their well-being: “When young people are facing a difficult issue or situation, they are likely to go to their friends first and this app builds on that kind of practice. By encouraging help-seeking behaviour and goal-setting skills in young people interacting in an online setting, Goalzie develops in players the habit of connecting with and speaking to others, which is so necessary for dealing with large problems that may arise at any time. This is particularly important for any vulnerable young people needing help for protection for example.”

TheYoung and Well Cooperative Research Centreis an international centre based in Australia. It unitesyoung people with researchers, practitioners, innovators and policy-makers from over 70 partner organisations. CEO Associate Professor Jane Burns also sees the vast potential for wellbeing through this app: “Evidence shows us that 75% of mental health difficulties occur before the age of 25 and that 70% of girls and 80% of boys don’t seek help for managing their mental health issues. Through apps like Goalzie we are trying to break down stigma and instil help-seeking behaviour using humour and gamification.”

Goalzie is the fourth and last in a series of campaigns from the Safe and Well Online project developed by this collaboration of researchers and young people. Goalzie builds on the success of:

Something Haunting You? aimed at encouraging young men to seek help for everyday stressors;

Appreciate A Mate focused on promoting positivity online and

Keep It Tame promoting respect online.

To download the free app Goalzie on iPhone or Android Visit

As an added bonus, Goalzie also includes access to The Toolbox – a resource created by ReachOut Australia in partnership with the Young and Well CRC. The Toolbox provides a collection of over 50 health and wellbeing tools and apps endorsed by professionals and reviewed by young people.