An interactive website has come up with a controversial method of raising awareness of the risks associated with cyberbullying.
Words Can Save has been created by a Moscow-based company Hungry Boys and demonstrates how important words can be in life-threatening situations.
The website, which is only accessible to those aged 18 years and over due to the sensitive nature of its content, allows participants to interact with virtual victims, in order to convince them not to take their own life. Users can communicate with the victims via smartphone or voice recognition software.
The two victims are named Mike and Kate and bother have suffered from cyberbullying from their peers. Through the game, the user learns of the two characters’ back stories before trying to resolve the situation. Users can also share their results via social media.
The creative director of Hungry Boys Vlad Sitnikov believes that the game can play an important role in dealing with cyberbullying.
“The more people who are aware of the problem, the more attentive they will be,” he said. “Cyberbullying affects all races and nationalities. Victims are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and consider taking their lives as a means of escape. This is a global issue and it requires a tough and uncompromising stance. The Words Can Save project allows us to confront this challenge head on and deal with it in a pertinent way.”
Read more: Will we ever eliminate cyberbullying?
The decision to launch Words Can Save is likely to be driven by how widespread cyberbullying has become in recent years. A quarter of teenagers worldwide have experienced repeated cyberbullying and there has been a number of high-profile examples of young people committing suicide in response to the onslaught of abuse.