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Critical factors associated with depression in childrens with

suicidal tendencies: an approach from the Serious Games.

Raymundo Camarena1, Alberto Ochoa-Zezatti1,
Jorge Rodas1, Ismar Frango2 & Pedro Cacique2

Universidade Presbiteriana MacKenzie, Brasil

Maestria en Computo Aplicado, UACJ; Mexico

Abstract Just a few decades ago the society has been

interested in the field of childrens rights. For this reason,
the society as a whole, has been developing strategies to
achieve that commitment. As a result, it has given more
attention to this society segment that is vulnerable. With
this the society does not pretend to expose the individual in
the early stages of his life. The way in which children lives is
critical in his formation when he reaches adulthood.
Considering this, every field of study must be present with a
childhood approach to the early stages of life. Hoping to
contribute to build better generations. In the area of serious
games we have better opportunities, because the games are
a major part in the early stages of life and are present
regardless of race, culture, religion or social status of the
children. The multiple factors involved in shaping the
character of children are out of his control. They are so
many and varied that it becomes difficult for a child gets out
unscathed. Although it is part of the natural formation of
each individual processes it differently and therefore, is
affected in a different way. This paper presents, a serious
game prototype to be used as an aid in the treatment of
children with emotional disorder, particularly in children
with some sort of depressive behavior.
KeywordsSerious Games; kids emotional disturbance;

In this document a proposal for Serious Play as an auxiliary
therapy in children with emotional disorders, specifically
depression or sadness ago. One of the critical stages of the
individual is the age in which his character is formed. That is
why any situation that affects emotionally during this period
will leave marked to adulthood (The Hospital for Sick
Children, 2010). Therefore, it is important to pay special
attention to the resources necessary to intervene to balance
emotions in this age. Emotional disorders in children are more

common than it might seem. Adults generally do not have

adequate awareness about, but recent studies show that at least
1 in 5 children suffer from some form of emotional disorder
(HHS of USA, 2016). From Serious Games you have the
opportunity to perform auxiliary tools for therapeutic support.
With this perspective Serious Play, a prototype that achieves
help overcome moods of sadness or depression in children with
these problems is described. It is intended to implement
psychological tools such as music therapy, appropriate color
management, improving self-esteem among others. elements
and essential characteristics of a game that will win will be
integrated, fun and function as therapy necessary for the player.
Adaptability, game flow and attractive graphics will be
integrated to create a fun serious game and thus ensure and
maintain the player's interest that serves also as a therapeutic
A. Emotions in children
Since the science-based child psychology emerged in the
second half of the nineteenth century promised to provide a
rational basis for education for the overall development of the
child. This whole area developing offering new interesting
proposals as the wearing of the study of children not only to
child psychology but proposed the creation of a focused
science to the child that went beyond child psychology
(Chrisman, 1896) . This thanks to William Preyer who is
considered the father of child psychology and eye not the first,
but if he did it with a rigorous accuracy same Conque made its
observations in its work by some very systematics (Jaeger,
B. Emotional Disorders in ninios.
Mental disorders of children affect many children and their
families. Children of all ages, ethnic or racial backgrounds, and
regions of the United States have mental disorders. According
to the report by the National Research Council and Institute of
Medicine in the division (Prevention of mental, emotional and
behavioral disorders in young people: progress and
possibilities, 2009) who gathered findings from previous

studies, it is estimated that 13 to 20 % of children living in the

United States (up to 1 in 5) has a mental disorder in a given
year, and about 247,000 million dollars a year are spent on
childhood mental disorders (HHS of USA, 2016).
In the literature we find several definitions to refer to
emotional, mental or behavioral problems. These days we find
that they are referred to as "emotional disorders" ( "emotional
disturbance"). The Education Act Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act ( "IDEA" for short) defines the performance of
emotional disorders as "that condition exhibiting a
characteristic in a long time in a degree of sharpness that
negatively affects boy". Immediately we list the classifications
of the types of behaviors as emotional disorder (U.S.
Department of Education of USA, 2016).
a) The lack of ability to learn that is inexplicable by
intellectual, sensory or health reasons.
b) The lack of ability to maintain personal relationships on
good terms with like or their teachers.
c) inconsistent behavior or feelings under normal
d) Is usually sadness or depression.
e) Develop physical symptoms or fears associated with
personal or school problems.
Hyperactivity: In this type of behavior manifest the child
inattentive, easily distracted and a degree of impulsivity.
Assaults: When the result of the behavior ends in wounds,
either themselves or their neighbors.
Withdrawal: The social life shows signs of delay or
individual shows inability to relate to their environment. It
includes excessive fears or anxiety.
Immaturity: When you experience crying spells where it is
not warranted; It is unable to adapt to changes.
Learning difficulties: learning does not develop at the same
pace than the average in their environment. It remains below
the level below their peers.
There are even more young children with serious emotional
disturbances where the thought comes to distort, severe
anxiety, not common motor acts, and behaviors too irritable.
Sometimes diagnosed with severe psychosis or schizophrenia
(U.S. Department of Education of USA, 2016).
C. Play therapy
Play therapy is defined as a formal recognition therapeutic
model and also have demonstrated effectiveness in children
with problems of emotional stress contributing and being

manifest in the child during normal development. Play therapy

builds on the child's play as a natural means of self-expression,
experimentation and communication. While the child plays
learns about the world and their relationships tested reality,
explores emotions and roles. It also gives the child the
possibility to externalize his personal history, thus releasing
negative feelings and frustrations, mitigating the effects of
painful experiences and that he shudders, giving relief to
feelings of anxiety and stress (Thomas, 2016).
The play therapist is a specialized and trained in play and
suitable for the various stages of child development
professional technical therapeutic methods. This must grasp
and understand as well as engaging in child's play to be able to
create a relationship of confidence and trust for expression and
handling of internal conflicts of the child are favored, also
download and understanding of their emotions more
entraadas making able to recognize and explore issues that
affect their lives (Schaefer, 2012). The Serious game proposed
does not replace therapy juago one your therapist, but seeks to
grant a auxiliare support tool and also effective as support of
those who are in contact with children at some point show
signs of a state of low mood. Inclusive also could be used by
health professionals as part of their therapeutic tools to control
emotions their patients.
D. Serious Games
An old definition of the 70's that so far has remained is that
serious games are those that have an educational or therapeutic
express purpose and not just fun. Within this definition it is
where the real challenge for developers because maintaining
this balance between fun and fulfill the purpose of carefully
planned learning. Once the construction of the game the focus
on learning or therapeutic purpose is often happens that the fun
part of such an important and necessary neglected juice
undermining the quality and impact of the game that should
have on users. The applications are varied and range from the
most common are in education, management, policy,
advocacy, planning, among others (Lilia Garcia-World, 2014).
Why games like support? The answer is simple and
intuitive as these are part of the training of people. They range
from individual games to games on computers, either two or
three or even members of many teams. Also an important part
of socialization and identity construction of individuals. Every
culture has games that are practiced from generation to
generation. Although he senses that his first games were not
designed with learning or therapeutic purposes it can be seen
that in addition to the fun and entertainment to the individual to
his help in their physical and mental development because they
fail to stimulate the individual. And to reinforce the above

mentioned the time of the revolution technology that we live

where practically the use of technology has become
indispensable (Silveira, 2016)
E. important when building a Serious Game Elements.
Within an important list of features that include a serious
game we must begin by referring to the memory of the Game.
This virtue is that the game must memorize the achievements
or what he has learned the player, is that after the game not
only the difficulty of the game is restarted at the same point as
this may cause the player does not appeal to play because it
will be the same to play again. But it should include a way the
game remembers what the player has learned should be
educational or gambling know what part of therapy player
stayed this if the game was used as recovery therapy of some
kind (Pablo HC Braga, 2015).
The game flow is very important to sow player loyalty. To
this we must try to modulate the difficulty that not frustrating
or boring into the other end to the user. For this reason what the
difficulty must be carefully modulated (Csikszentmihalyi,
1990) .. Another very important thing is the story or narrative.
The combination of history, landscape and context must be
consistent with the culture and country. The narrative is a basic
element which should tell you a serious game, think of the
public who will play, stories that may be of interest,
environments and characters with which the player will feel
attracted to play are essential part of the game. The rules must
be clearly defined. The graphical environment has to be
immersive (immersed, submerged, tucked) so that the player
feels he is in the game. As the above interactivity must be
present for the player to interact as much as possible playing.
We must not forget also that should provide elements
consistent with reality, as an objective of the game is that the
player develops and / or better their skills. Another of the most
important things of a serious game is to provide some degree of
adaptability, this is the game fits the style of the player to the
game to respond properly and depending on the style of the
player. And above all, and yet we should not let pass a serious
game must by obligation be fun (Silveira, 2016).
The purpose is primarily to try to change the blue mood of
the child to play it. We will try to counteract the negative
effects that keep the child in this already sad or even depressed
mood. We will not engage with the causes responsible for the
feeling of the child but only the negative effects. This will be
done through various strategies. The first is to put fun or
animated scenarios carefully choosing the colors for which it is
intended to lead to reviving the child brain through the
psychological effects of color. They tried to avoid most

possible dark colors although it was not possible in full if the

vast majority (Heller, 2016). The background music will be
crucial in the desired effect. In the case of music it is similar to
the colors where own music activation of the brain known as
reptile will be used. That is the survival instinct. This type of
music is what leads drums and joyous rhythms that help in part
to lift your spirits (Lopez, 2012). The part that involves the
challenge of meeting objectives and demonstrated capacity to
each accomplishment gives an assurance that the depressed
child may need (Leary, 2001). This is where adaptability
handled carefully as to the complexity of the challenges. You
will also ask the player if he wants to repeat the challenge if
you have obtained low score. This in order to avoid the most of
any circumstances that contribute to frustration and / or feeling
of losing.
To build the prototype of the game initially we used five
scenarios of nature by type of weather. La Selva, sea, desert,
Polar, El Bosque. When starting the game, the player has to
register his name. Play once the player selects a level that goes
from simple to complex. At the simplest level the player will
have to choose animals that are showing you so that fits in the
corresponding stage. It is that the player is a browser where
you have to go demonstrating completing challenges and in
turn develop their skills and knowledge. The game invites the
player to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. Each time the
player achieves goals was held with sounds and triumphal
music. The intention is that in each of the celebrations bring the
player to a state of increasingly positive mood with feelings of
accomplishment. The game begins with simple tests where the
player will have to assign the correct classification for a
number of animals and other elements of the stage the moment
the player chose and change as people achieve the correct
elements. The player will accumulate medals and trophies that
will give you a greater range far exceeding every challenge to
people with animals and elements of the scenario in which the
player is.
Challenges must have a balance in the complexity which
should be relatively easy to avoid bring the player to boredom.
And control the complexity not take it to frustration. This will
be an interesting part of the game where it suits according to
the player's skill. This will be calculated by the combined
response time player with the number of hits. Where they will
even give you clues if that will complicate the answers through
some indications for the player to improve their skills. This is
controlled via the response time of placement of the elements
that will show the player. If the player takes too long to place
rightly animal or element scenario is populating tracks were
activated for that aid assist him even respond properly. To
detect if the player is very skilled and knows the scenario also

measured the time that will populate each stage. If is passing

very quickly increase the complexity play in two ways. The
first is giving less time to accommodate the element and the
second is showing elements belonging to the scene but are not
as obvious or known by people.
What is expected of the serious game?
Improve mood player as elapsed play through the tools that
will be used as background music, using music therapy
techniques to lift the spirits Player (Lopez, 2012). Another
element of the strategy are the colors of the stage. Through the
effect of color on mood it is to have the player in a positive
emotional state (Heller, 2016). The third element is through the
sounds in the game. With each success and each failure,
environmental sounds own scenario in which you are playing.
And the fourth element is the recognition of achievements.
Through badges, medals, trophies, scores and appointments
you want the player to have feeling of satisfaction with the
recognition of each achievement (Leary, 2001).
IV. Discussions AND FUTURE WORK.
The fact that the project focuses on the emotional support of
children carries in itself a commitment and intrinsic
complexity. This being a vulnerable stage where besides is in
full development and any event or occurrence may be able to
cause negative effects and can leave the child marked
permanently. It is therefore very important that more research
be focused on this area of opportunity with great impact. And
from the Serious Games it presents an opportunity naturally by
the acceptance they have games at this age and even more so
with the advantage that these generations where you have an
easy access to technology. As mentioned in this document this
project is currently in the construction phase. This prototype
Serious Play is firmly intending to take the next phase of
construction complete and functional. A foundation sponsored
by one of the most important children's hospitals in the city of
Paso Texas in the US has shown a genuine interest in the
project so that mentioned provide support as necessary for its
realization. This foundation has child care programs and have
interesting and very efficient when strategies. That's why he
would like to have this kind of tools that are integrated into
their programs. For this it will soon be formalized by both
parties committed to support for the project shown in this
document. In a future research, we try to modify a game based
on collaborative work in a group with high intensity of
pressure to each children and modify the importance related
with support this kind of pressure related with the
responsibility of a collective activity, as is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.- A serious game based on collective activities and

related with the increase of social skills.
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