FActs! is a Serious Educational Game which means that the respondent is a player with a graphic avatar and each question presented with animated graphics. The single gameplay takes up to 5-8 minutes and in order to reach as many teenagers as possible and to do it safely, the questionnaire is digital and available online on the web.
The game consists of 4 scenarios with 9 questions about fertility awareness. Scenarios in the FActs! are: In the schoolyard, at the party, at the gym, and at the brother’s house which present users questions about reproductive health and risk factors. After each scenario, the player can see how many stars they have collected based on their right/wrong answers.
Since our secondary goal in this project is to increase the level of fertility awareness among teenagers, FActs! provides customised educational information after each answered question depending on the answer and will guide the respondent along the learning path.
GDPR: No personal information will be collected and respondents will remain anonymous. FActs! collects data only on the gender, age and country information of the young users. In the process of receiving feedback and results, the completed set of answers will be stored in a centralised database, where they will be processed, summarised and exported as reports for further scientific analysis.
Fertility Awareness Project
Human fertility is a central issue for society and cannot be taken for granted at any life stage. As the birth rates have been falling throughout Europe and the number of European citizens with fertility issues has increased during the last 50 years, fertility and infertility terms have been put into the spotlight for scientists, policy-makers, non-government organisations and other stakeholders. As described in previous findings, unfortunately, many people still take their fertility for granted and do not wish to think about their fertility until a problem arises. Within this context of reproductive health and fertility issues, we see fertility awareness as a level of knowledge and awareness of society on the topic of the human reproductive system, life cycle, possible threats to reproductive health and the ways to protect it.
Previous studies have also demonstrated that online educational approaches can increase fertility knowledge and support family planning decisions. Although we found an increase in studies that are focusing on fertility awareness, the quality and consistency of their findings are still lacking. That’s why we decided to influence this trend by educating the young generations about their fertility potential, and the risks to their reproductive health by Fertility Awareness Project (https://fertilityeurope.eu/fertility-awareness/) which aims to digitally reach teenagers aged 15-18 in European countries to check their knowledge of fertility and to raise their awareness level with an online tool. Our other main goal will be also to provide reliable information on the levels of fertility awareness among young people in Europe and help advocate for actions on European and national levels. Since we target teenagers in our project we found some significant results about the level of fertility awareness among this young population.
According to fertility studies, we found that teenagers know less than they should know about fertility topics and teenagers are the most receptive population to fertility information, indicating that it might be easier to receive this information when the road to parenthood is ahead of them. Besides that, teenagers also expressed that they wished that they had learned more about fertility in school. Within this case, we believe that educational interventions are a worthwhile endeavour and can increase knowledge of fertility in the short term. Additionally, fertility education should be paired with policies and practices that support teenagers to make informed decisions about fertility and the knowledge needs to be tailored specifically for them. When we analysed the educational approaches, we saw that the young generation obtained fertility knowledge from non-formal resources such as mass media which has been shown to often present distorted fertility information. In fact, recent studies concluded that more than 50% of teenagers disclosed information about health risk behaviours on social media public profiles. However, teenagers find serious educational games much more engaging which are aimed at fertility issues as well! So, depending on the design and delivery format, serious games can provide tailored intervention content relevant to a given group or individual, rather than being one-size-fits-all. Moreover, the practice of skills through gaming can allow greater sustainability in skills over time and thus games may provide anonymity and confidentiality which are important for users to disclose sensitive information. Of course, Further research is needed to increase adherence to these interventions and to implement them in real practice.
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