25 October 2013
Child safety campaigners Bruce and Denise Morcombe today helped launch a space-themed computer game designed by the University of the Sunshine Coast to combat child sexual abuse.
The couple was happy to incorporate the unveiling of the game at USC’s Innovation Centre auditorium into the national Day for Daniel, an annual event held in memory of their son, Daniel, who was abducted and murdered on the Sunshine Coast in 2003 when he was 13.
The interactive game, called Orbit, has been designed for use in classrooms to help children aged 8-10 learn how to be safe from sexual abuse.
It features a range of activities that help build confidence, well-being and problem-solving skills, and is part of a package that includes lesson plans and support materials for teachers. Mr Morcombe spoke highly of the Orbit game package, which was developed over the past three years by USC researchers in partnership with the Telstra Foundation, Queensland Police Service (QPS) and the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.
He said the Daniel Morcombe Foundation unreservedly supported the adoption of the Orbit program into every primary school in Australia.
"Engaging children in an online game to appreciate their personal safety is the way forward,” he said. “We all know it is the educational platform children enjoy.”
USC’s Associate Professor of Interactive Digital Media Christian Jones thanked the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, the QPS and the Telstra Foundation for their support.
He said researchers at the University’s Engage Research Lab developed Orbit with assistance from USC psychology experts and through trialling the game at Siena Catholic Primary School and Chancellor State College.
“When we trialled Orbit in these schools, we saw that the children really enjoyed playing the game and learnt important messages about sexual abuse prevention,” he said.
The game can be found online at www.orbit.org.au
— Terry Walsh