Dating board game to help teens distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationships

A KWAZULU-NATAL woman has created a dating board game for teenagers.

GAME LIFE: Teacher-to-be Janice Massyn has designed a dating board for teens Pictures: JACKIE CLAUSEN

Janice Massyn, a nurse from Pietermaritzburg, created Viva Dating Game, using the snakes and ladders concept with players racing to the finish.

The game, which is being piloted at a few schools in northern KwaZulu-Natal, is about helping the youth to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationships and guide them in the right direction in their lives. It is aimed at those over 12 years and involves two to six players.

“Players have fun while developing their life skills through the game,” said Massyn. “Viva Dating Game brings the outside real world into the classroom and home. For example if your partner is on drugs how does that affect you and your relationship. And if you are drinking heavily how will that affect your friendships with your family and friends. The game covers social issues such as HIV, drug and alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy.”

She said it was through her own experiences and her interaction with friends and family, she decided to come up with a game.

“Many of the stories on my cards are based on real life. The board game reinforces book learning. It’s a fun, interactive board game to play at home and school with family or friends. Players, namely school children, have fun while learning life skills at the same time.

“Teachers and parents will find it a great ice breaker because it will help them to bring up sensitive topics and will help to expand knowledge. Viva Dating Game promotes discussion and stimulates innovative thinking and practice. Teachers and parents can use the board game to ask thought provoking questions and promote interest in lifeskills,” said Massyn, who is now in her final year of studies as a foundation phase teacher.

She said among the objectives of the game was to promote positive healthy behaviour lifestyle and decision making, effective communication and problem solving, develop positive thinking and a positive attitude, oracy and literacy, increase vocabulary, learn to follow instructions and take turns, develop social skills, stimulate thinking, learn how to win and lose and promote unity and a feeling of connection among players.