A series of six science popular edutainment videos for adolescents on healthy lifestyle and relationships have been recently created through collaborative efforts of UNESCO IITE and Youtube channel “Nowchpok”. Within 5 months from the moment videos were published on Youtube and in social media 6 episodes have scored more than 3.5 mln views. These videos intend to give clear and simple answers to the difficult questions young people may ask themselves on their way from childhood to adulthood.
Each video presents one topic that is particularly important for modern teenagers: independence and importance to have one’s own opinion; ways to stand against cyberbullying; love and sexual relationships at a young age; health risks and hazards as well as proactive measures to avoid risky situations. As a rule, teachers and parents find it hard to engage a conversation on these topics with adolescents: generational gap is felt more acutely than ever, and not always can one avoid timidity and move beyond simple moralizing.
Edutainment is an approach that сombines education with entertainment in the learning process. It has proved its worth as an effective method of communication with young audience. Animation videos released as a part of the project on “Nowchpok” channel stick to this very approach: they present scientific facts in a simple entertaining manner that is free from annoying and tiresome lectures on what is right and what is wrong.
Using social media as a main communication tool and mobilizing Nowchpok’s well established audience has resulted in maximum reach and vivid response from the users. Each episode has scored from 200.000 to 1,3 mln views, with some of them going viral and featuring in the Youtube’s top list.
Videos may serve as supporting materials for teachers during lessons on healthy lifestyle and reproductive health. They would also be helpful for parents that wish to talk to their children about hardships of growing-up but do not know how.
Currently videos are being adapted to national languages to be further used during awareness-raising events on HIV prevention and healthy lifestyle in Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Tadjikistan.
Full versions of six episodes (in Russian) with examples of comments from Youtube and social media users are available here:
Episode 1 “The curious case of Vanya Pugovkin” is about effects HIV has on human organism, ways of transmission and risk groups as well as common misconceptions about the virus and people living with it
“Thank you very much for this video, the delivery is fun and clear, and what is more – lots of useful and vitally important information. The video was released just in time as there is an HIV epidemic in Russia (over 1 mln people are infected). That’s why people should know as much as possible about the virus. Thank you for caring about our health and wellbeing and for educating us”George Harvey
“Respect for bringing up a really important topic, keep up the good work”
“One of the most informative and useful videos on your channel!”
Episode 2 “Why are we doing things we don’t really want to?” is about our susceptibility to social influence as well as importance to distinguish between your own opinion and the views of the majority
“Really cool and useful episode! I’m 22, and my younger brother is 13. He believes he wants to become a ‘vaper’, but I know that it’s not really his own thoughts, he’s just going with the crowd! I’ll definitely show him this episode – hope he’ll change his mind”
“I would like to thank you for providing clear, high-quality content on this topic without digressing or waffling – only pictures and interesting questions. Great opportunity to ‘train our brains’ instead of laughing at dumb jokes”
Episode 3 “How to stand against trolls?” is about cyberbullying and aggression in the Internet as well as ways to respond to it
“People tend to bully you when you’re unprepared. So the video is about a pressing issue”
“Trolls are just hunting for reaction from others, they usually feel very lonely and don’t know other ways to attract attention to themselves”
Episode 4 “Is it possible to find one’s ‘other half’?” is about our quest for an ideal partner and formula for a happy relationship
“Go on searching, don’t give up, but use your head – don’t do stupid things. You’ll definitely find the one you’re searching for – sooner or later”
“Some really exciting science-popular series you have here! Thanks for doing a great job”
Episode 5 “When is the right time for your ‘first time’?” is about importance of trusting your partner and being ready not only physically but also psychologically
“Well, that’s really cool. Please carry on with episodes like this one! Too bad we didn’t have such videos when I was a teen.”
“Why are such important topics being taught here, in the Internet, instead of our schools? At least in 9th or 10-11 grades?”
“Useful video though. Thanks on behalf of several dozens of teens – now we know more than we used to.”
“I think we should show this video to all modern adolescents”
Episode 6 “How to choose the right contraception?” is about advantages and disadvantages of different contraception methods
“Nice video, teaching it to children is anyway vital. If parents are unwilling to talk to their child about these topics, they can at least show them this video”
“Thank you Nowchpok for educating the younger (and maybe also the elder) generation. It’s nice to find out that we have sexuality education at least somewhere in Russia”
“I think videos like this one can be very beneficial to our children. And the earlier we show it to them, the better. I know lots of people that already have their own children at the age of 18. And don’t even get me started on STIs…”
“Very useful video, no kidding! As a rule, the information that’s presented here cannot be easily found in one place – you should search for it on many websites and forums – and many young people, especially young women, have never come across these facts. And they are usually afraid to ask their parents about it or to go to the doctor. I think most of them won’t have any questions after watching this episode”