A few years ago, all I had to do to keep my children safe online was to put the computer in the hall way, or the living room and just walk by every now and again and check to see what they were up to. Now children have so much at their fingertips, with tablets and smart phones giving them full internet access from the privacy of their bedrooms, or outside our homes and schools.
So my biggest challenge was how do I protect my own children?
I went online, hunted high and low to find something to teach them, as children. There is a massive amount of very good information, but I still found nothing that would teach my sons about online safety. I didn’t want to stand over them, controlling what they did and telling them what not to do. I wanted them to understand the dangers, and I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Gooseberry Planet addresses this concern that millions of parents share; millions of parents that initially formed my target market.
While I was developing the game, I used a few of the local schools as sounding boards, and one thing that I came to realise very quickly was that actually there was nothing in the schools that helped teach children about online safety. We are still teaching children in a very traditional manner, with the teacher or policeman standing at the board, telling the children what they should and shouldn’t do. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but times have changed. We need to engage with our children in a better way, and what a more perfect way to engage with our children than to actually give them a game.
If this game can save one child from being groomed or sexually exploited, then it has achieved my goal.