Changeville: A Game for Helping Children of Divorce
Changeville is an internet based game released in 2008 by the Justice Education Society of British Columbia, Canada. Changeville is an interactive, virtual world designed “to give children tools and information that will help diminish the fears and anxiety they may feel.” Some of the information contained within the game is targeted directly to residents of Canada (like contact information if kids need to talk to someone), but most of it applies to children from any country.
How it Works
We you enter the world of Changeville, you will be prompted to enter your name. You can also enter a password if you want to keep your information private. From there you customize your avatar (the character who represents you in the game) to look however you would like them to look. A map of Changeville appears, and you are prompted to pick an area of town. Your choices include:
- Break Up Street
- Legal Street
- The Park
- The Poster Shop.
Each part of town offers different information and tools about your parents separation or divorce. As you click on a part of town, your avatar travels there on the map.
Break Up Street has six different houses. The narrator explains that parents who are getting a divorce don’t always do things right. These are called parenting traps that kids can fall into, and each house represents a separate parenting trap including the money trap (issues with money), the messenger trap (using you to send messages), the wishing trap (creating false hopes), the spy trap (when parents ask questions about the other parent), the badmouth trap (when parents speak badly about each other), and the nasty trap (controlling visits with other parents). Each house contains a narrative, questions and answers about how each trap might make you feel, and online printable puzzles.
On Legal Street you can learn more about divorce. Go to the theater, to watch videos. Choose from seven different videos. Some are just for fun and others deal with issues you might be experiencing. When you leave the theatre, travel over to the Legal Office to found out more about what divorce is. There you can watch presentations titled “What is Divorce?” or “Custody, Guardianship & Access.” Find out about the divorce process at the courthouse. Here you can watch videos about “The Divorce Process” and “Legal Words.” Finally, make sure to check out the Library for helpful resources.
At The Park, you will learn ways to deal with feelings you have about the divorce. On the playground, you can complete on online word search about some of the many emotions you might be feeling about your parents’ divorce. As you find each word, a brief explanation is provided about each emotion. In the skate park you will learn about anger, sadness, anxiety and coping skills.
At the Poster Shop you can make and print posters about how you are feeling, what you want, what you need and more. In addition to each of the parts of Changeville, there is a journal where you can write about your experiences with your parents’ divorce.
Who Is It For?
Changeville is targeted to kids aged 6 to 12. However, it will also provide parents and those who work with children of divorce invaluable information and insight into to how to help kids working through the divorce of their parents.
Here at I Am A Child of Divorce, we highly recommend this resource for children whose parents are separated or divorced. The interactive nature of the game will keep kids engaged. The information provided is helpful though we would have liked to have seen it go a little deeper in places. That said, this is one of the best interactive resources we have come across for children of divorce, and we applaud the efforts of the Justice Education Society of British Columbia, Canada.