April 23, 2012
Animated Characters Keep It Real In Teen Violence Prevention Videos
Briana and Damon could be the kids up the block. Briana does well in school and wants to follow in her sister´s footsteps to college. Damon works hard at an after-school job in a local barbershop. They hang out with friends and try to stay out of trouble.
But Briana and Damon have a mission. Voiced by Philadelphia teens, they are a pair of digitally animated street-smart characters with a Facebook page aimed at reducing urban youth violence. Working with West Philadelphian residents who are members of the Philadelphia Area Research Community Coalition, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center (PCVPC) created Briana and Damon as a novel strategy to communicate anti-violence messages grounded in community-based research. The researchers reported their findings in the American Journal of Community Psychology this month and launched the Briana and Damon animated videos on the Facebook page.
The characters and their stories are the product of years of community-based participatory research from the PCVPC, a project funded by the Centers for Disease Control to address violence in Philadelphia.
Researchers often focus on communicating results of studies to others in their field, but getting practical advice to the communities they serve is often more important, according to lead author Dr. Nicole Vaughn, an assistant professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health.
Image Caption: Briana and Damon, characters in a series of animated videos to convey research-based violence prevention messages.
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