Sutton Council’s Cultural Services launches a video game for children, to raise awareness about misinformation

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Published Friday, 28th May 2021

Sutton Council is delighted to announce the launch of NewsFlash! - a fun online video game for 8-12 year olds.

The game has been launched with supporting educational resources for parents, carers and teachers. Both the game and resources aim to enhance digital literacy and introduce children to the skills needed to critically think about misinformation. NewsFlash! will enable pre-teens to analyse their research habits, develop skills for assessing the legitimacy of information consumed, and support better understanding of the impact of misinformation. 

Sutton Council’s Cultural Services will champion the use of the game in schools as part of teaching around this subject. The supporting educational resources have been designed so they can be used as either stand-alone activities by parents, carers or teachers, or as a series of lessons in school for children in Key Stages 2 and 3.

In 2020, Sutton Council Cultural Services received a £25,000 Engaging Libraries award to raise awareness about misinformation in an increasingly digital age. Almost half of all UK library services applied for this funding, with only 14 making the final selection. 

Partners on the project include Dr Gianfranco Polizzi from the University of Birmingham, whose research focuses on education and digital literacy. Teachers and students from Stanley Park Juniors and Glenthorne High School also participated in focus groups during the development of the game. Students' feedback has directly influenced the game designer and writer, Adam Dixon, to use the ‘mystery’ genre as the basis of the game.

A young person who participated in the focus group, said: 

‘This game was so fun! I loved discovering different clues and solving the mystery.’

Mrs Lammy, Headteacher at Stanley Park Juniors, said:

‘The children were very eager to be a part of the design process to create this game. I was incredibly proud of their suggestions to improve it and make it more user friendly. The message behind the game is a really important one. Children access technology from such a young age and we need to teach them how to treat the information they are exposed to. The children who got to test the game were engaged throughout and seemed to learn some important things along the way. I am sure it will be a success!’

Councillor Steve Cook, Lead Member for Cultural Services and Chair of Beddington & Wallington Local Committee committee, said:

‘NewsFlash! Game is a very enjoyable and fun approach to introducing children to a very serious topic. I am delighted to see Sutton Council deliver such an ambitious output as part of the Engaging Libraries programme.

‘The spread of misinformation and ‘fake news’ can have severe consequences, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. Learning how to critically think about the information we come across daily, is now more relevant than ever.’

NewsFlash! launches at 12 noon on 28 May 2021