Lex (and Rex) are key characters in the game we are developing as part of our ESRC-funded project, Law in Children’s Lives.
Adventures with Lex is a tablet-based game being developed by our project team at the University of Leicester. The game is being used as a research tool to explore children’s decision making processes when faced with a variety of socio-legal scenarios from their everyday lives. These scenarios include, but are not limited to, issues such as going to school, gender discrimination and duty of care.
The game captures the children’s responses – both quantitative and qualitative data – as they navigate through various situations. For example, in the school setting, faced with the introduction of a new school uniform (a very unattractive brown blazer), the children are asked to consider who has power in relation to making decisions at their school. Is it their headteacher; their parents/carers; the school governors; the government; or the children themselves?
The children are guided through the game scenarios by Lex. Lex is a naive alien who has come to Earth to find out about children’s everyday lives. He is inquisitive; non-judgemental; and genuinely interested in what children have to say. (Very much like the Law in Children’s Lives project team!)
The use of the ‘naive alien’ was originally suggested to the project team through consultative work with the National Children’s Bureau. The concept is not new when working with children – it has been used in legal research (Saywitz et al 1990); by psychologists (Schwanenflugel et al 1986) as well as in educational settings (Nichols et al 2012; Randall 2013; Institute for Humane Education).
During the participatory design phase of the project, the idea of explaining things to an alien was met with enthusiasm from the children we worked with. Choosing their favourite design from a variety of alien sketches provided by our fantastic game design company, Enigma Interactive, they helped us develop the character, Lex. (Lex, of course, is the Latin for law; making the title of our game, Adventures with Lex, have an important double meaning.)
In the game, Lex is accompanied by his pet alien dog, Rex….to find out more about Rex and this project, please continue to follow our blog.
We hope, like Lex, you are interested in finding out more about children’s understanding of the law – and the project, Law in Children’s Lives….
You can follow us on Twitter @LICL_Lex!