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Video games really can prevent violence

At GDC 2015, Drew Crecente of Jennifer Ann's Group (disclosure: Drew is Polygon News Editor Brian Crecente's brother) spoke about the power of video games to prevent teen dating violence (TDV).

TDV is scarily prevalent, and Jennifer Ann's group is a non-profit organization that works with teens in order to prevent it. Since 2008, the group has used video games to educate and raise awareness. In the talk, Crecente argued that video games may actually be the most effective pedagogical tool to prevent TVD.

"Evidence-based research supports the efficacy," of video games as a tool for preventing partner violence in teens, said Crecente. They can be used to experiential learning and empathy-building, and they speak to teens in a language they understand.

Crecente noted that the approach also works for topics such as suicide prevention and teen pregnancy and STD information. Citing games like It's Your Game, Keep it Real, and Inner Vision.

"I believe strongly that video games, like any media, have the power to create change," said Crecente. "Games offer unique opportunities to create that change."

Check out the Jennifer Ann's Group website for more on TDV prevention and a selection of hosted games — like Love in a Dumpster, pictured up top — made for the organization's Life.Love game design competition.

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