Working to keep teenagers safe
A UEL academic is involved in creating an app to help keep young people across Europe safe from neglect and abuse .
Work on the Keep Me Safe in Europe project began in October 2014, and it is expected to launch in 2016. It is funded by the European Union and is led by Dr Darren Sharpe from the University of East London and Professor Tim Waller from Anglia Ruskin University.
The app will be designed by young people for young people and will promote early access to services which help with neglect and abuse.
“The target audience is young people on the move across Europe and also adults who have a child-safeguarding responsibility,” explains Dr Sharpe. “They would use the tool with young people they suspect may be experiencing neglect and abuse. It will also promote best practice among European professionals to ensure they recognise the issues from the perspectives of young people as they move across Europe.”
The Keep Me Safe app involves researchers, youth protection specialists and young people from the UK, Greece and Cyprus collaborating with a games-design company to develop it into a game-infused e-learning tool.
Different countries have different attitudes and approaches to abuse and neglect. To combat this, three groups of young researchers are running cafe workshops with children and young people to develop cultural-specific storylines to build into the game . The most-recent meeting was in Thessalonica, Greece in May 2015.
“This meeting was the first opportunity for all members of the pan-European team to come together and begin exploring the cross-cultural storylines which will be featured in the game,” explains Dr Sharpe. “The meeting succeeded in prioritising and developing a shared understanding around the numerous safeguarding issues affecting young people from the perspectives of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-faith group. By the end of the meeting the game designer knew how our young people wanted the emerging game to be developed.”
The project is funded by Erasmus Plus, an EU-wide initiative, and the app will be officially launched during summer 2016. It will be made openly available to help other youth protection specialists across the EU and beyond.
Collaborators on this project include Anglia Ruskin University, Walsall Council, European University of Cyprus and South-East European Research Centre.
Notes to Editors
The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.