The FearNot! (Fun with Empathic Agents to Achieve Novel Outcomes in Teaching) computer software allows children to test out anti bullying and coping strategies in a computer-based virtual environment, where they interact with the characters.
The children act as an 'invisible friend' to the characters in the virtual environment – invisible because they are not present themselves in the episodes and 'friend' because they can advise and support but not act with god-like power to solve their problems.
Professor Dieter Wolke explained: “Teachers try to help children who are being bullied, but research shows this doesn’t always work. We’re looking at a new parallel approach supporting teacher efforts that allows youngsters to try out different ways of dealing with the problem.
“Early trials of the software have been very successful, but now we need local schools to help us test the system.”
For further information, contact Dr Maria Sapouna, co-ordinating researcher for the project, on 024 765 75527 or email M.Sapouna@warwick.ac.uk