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Channel 4 Education Launches Online Project Aimed at Teens

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By: NMK Created on: June 30th, 2010
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Young people could benefit from a new project aimed at building their confidence through online games and video backed by Channel 4 Education. New Media Knowledge met the people behind the project.

A new project will launch this summer aimed at helping teens positively affect their future success and happiness. “Super Me” is a system of online games and videos backed by Channel 4 Education, featuring candid stories from celebrities including broadcaster Richard Bacon, England footballer Shaun Wright-Phillips and singer Pixie Lott. Guests talk about their strengths, failures and own definitions of happiness and Super me will be available by its central hub, Facebook, YouTube and users’ own websites.

Super Me is produced by digital production company Somethin’ Else. NMK caught up with Paul Bennun, director digital at Somethin’ Else, to learn more about the project.

Briefly describe Super Me for us

Super Me is a Channel 4 Education commission, aimed at teens. It's a system of games, videos and a website hub — together it shows them the control they have over their own resilience, which is the ability to bounce back from everything life throws at you. Teens can play their way to a happier, more resilient version of themselves.

While we'll be syndicating our games and video content all over the wider web, if they come to playsuperme.com we can track how they’re doing in four different measures of resilience, such as agency or reflectiveness. Then we can suggest games or videos to boost areas where they may be weak. This is a hugely sophisticated amalgam of content and code, presenting itself very, very simply.


What was the inspiration behind the project?

Somethin' Else did some research for Channel 4 on teen mental health and happiness. We discovered that resilience is more important to the future success of teens than literacy, and that 40 per cent of anyone's happiness is down to things we all have control over. It seemed like a fantastic idea to create a project that would help kids take control of this, and we had some exciting ideas about how we could build a system to do it, where the winning strategies of the games were the winning strategies for life. We wanted to find a way to do this that is supremely entertaining.

What kind of games will Super Me involve?

Super Me is, above all, a game. If you log in via Facebook Connect then you score points and can level up via scoring well in individual games or by watching appropriate content. The games embody elements of resilience, such as agency (being your own hero) or working as a team. They are in a variety of different graphical styles, and include a game with a story, a great multiplayer game and some funny single-player games. However, even the linear video in Super Me is part of a larger game.

How and when will you assess the success (or failure) of Super Me? What’s the goal?

The goal is get to hundreds of thousands of teens using the project. We've spent a huge amount of time and thought on creating a system that'll actually work — teach teens that they have control over their resilience, and show them how to do it, but more importantly is something teens will actually want to use. The project has already achieved a huge amount of positive reaction from various educational, psychological and societal agencies and thinkers we've consulted. It's already a success from that point of view, but it's the kids' opinion that matters!

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