Minecraft is a video game in which its users can collect natural resources and build a virtual world. Now, it can also provide users with education about consent and healthy relationships.
Stand Strong, a San Luis Obispo women’s shelter program, launched a Teen Minecraft Club on Feb. 2, where youth educators teach teens about healthy relationships using the video game Minecraft and Discord software.
The program mainly focuses on education and prevention of intimate partner violence which is physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and/or physical harm by a current or former partner or spouse, according to Stand Strong’s website.
Educating children and teenagers on consent and healthy relationships has become a priority for Stand Strong.
“Domestic violence prevention is not something everybody knows about but there’s a whole lot of evidence that domestic violence prevention programs really do work,” Sandra Gresham, Director of Communications for Stand Strong, said.
Throughout the program, the teens will play Minecraft but they will also have guided discussions about healthy relationships using Discord. Discord is a software many gamers use to communicate and send messages while playing with their friends. This software will be utilized during the gaming to pose discussion questions for the teens in the club to learn about healthy relationships.
The program will use “Ask Big Questions,” an organization that promotes posing questions to create discussion rather than make statements, according to their website.
Before the pandemic, Stand Strong ran the program “Coaching Boys into Men” which aimed at teaching boys about healthy relationships through football.
Armando Ruiz, a prevention educator, worked with teens from the previous program to come up with the idea for Teen Minecraft Club.
“He adapted knowledge from various curricula that he had implemented over the years into this Minecraft group on Discord,” Gresham said.
The group meets every Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. until May 18. Any high school-aged teen is able to participate.
“It’s a super unique way to get local teens involved in domestic violence prevention,” Gresham said.