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Gamified app for vulnerable youngsters in corona time

Gamified app for vulnerable youngsters in corona time

This week the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital and Tilburg University in collaboration with the municipality of Rotterdam launched the gamified app ‘Grow It!’ which helps young people keep track of how they feel during the Corona crisis, and helps them cope with stress. Because many young people are vulnerable to stress and anxiety in these strange times. Spryng’s SMS service is also involved in this great initiative and research. Not only to guarantee the safety of the users, but also to motivate young people to (continue to) participate.

Uncertain times

Many young people have to deal with insecurity due to the corona crisis. They see few of their peers and have to stay in the house as much as possible. Tensions may arise in the home situation due to financial problems or uncertainty about the consequences of the corona crisis. All this makes young people in this time of crisis vulnerable to stress, loneliness, fear and gloom.

Research and game in one

The ‘Grow It!’ app can support young people by understanding their emotions and helping them deal with them. The app was developed by a research team led by Prof. Dr. Manon Hillegers, head of the department of Child and Youth Psychiatry/psychology at the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with Loes Keijsers of Tilburg University. It is part of a large-scale study into the well-being of young people during the corona crisis. A group of young people is monitored – obviously with their consent – to see if the app can actually help them feel better. By continuously measuring thoughts, emotions and behavior at several moments a day, a good insight is gained into individual differences and changes within the individual.

Digital ‘diary’ during the corona crisis

Youngsters can download the gamified app for free on their phone, they join a team and play along. Every day they receive a few questions. They also participate in challenges. Like ‘Cook something nice for your family’ or ‘Tell your girlfriend what you like about her’. The assignments help the youngsters to share feelings or develop an activity. At the same time, the app works like a diary.

As of this week, ‘Grow It!’ will be offered to young people aged 12 to 25 in the Rotterdam Rijnmond region through secondary education. But everyone can download the app and participate.

What does this research have to do with sending SMS?

More than you think! Spryng is not just involved in this great initiative. As ‘sponsor of ‘Grow It!’ we provide SMS services that support both the use of the app and the young people themselves. How is SMS used in the youth app? Spryng does this in two ways:

  1. A verification SMS is sent when you log into the app for the first time. The users first fill in a ‘start questionnaire’ on the website and to get access to the app they receive a verification code by SMS.
  2. In addition, motivational SMS are sent to the youngsters when using the app. These messages are intended to give them extra encouragement to complete all questionnaires. These SMS messages are personalized; certain SMS messages are sent automatically, depending on the number of completed questions.

The initiators: “With this Spryng contributes to better data quality and in the long run to an optimized app that will hopefully help young people with negative feelings”.

“What’s so great about Spryng is that these messages are all sent automatically, we’re very happy with that”.

Loes Keijsers – Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology, Tilburg University.

Want to know more about ‘Grow It!

Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital, Tilburg University, City of Rotterdam, NWO, Stichting Vrienden van het Sophia, Spryng, eHealth Junior, IJsfontein, Game Architect and Generation R are participating in the project ‘Grow It!

For more information about the research and the app, please click here. And on the website of Grow It! of course.

Want to know more about sending SMS?

Spryng likes to think along with you about the effective use of SMS in your services, marketing or research. Because sending SMS is fast, efficient and easy to arrange via a simple to integrate SMS API. Curious? Call (or SMS) with Marc, phone 020-7703005.

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