Zach Brier

Forming habits can be difficult, and it is important that the habits that are formed are good ones. Good habits can be anything from brushing your teeth, to always saying please and thank you. Some habits that are overlooked however can be some of the most important. Disaster preparedness is a perfect example of a habit that should be formed but that is commonly overlooked. An ideal age for forming disaster preparedness habits is between the ages of eight and thirteen. There are many ways we could get across to today’s kids in that age range and a system should be set in place in order to allow for disaster preparedness’ to become a habit.

The system should be appealing to the kids, otherwise the participation would be lacking. Kids love interactive videos and gaming. My mom is a first grade teacher and I frequently help out in her class. They have several educational games that the students really respond well to. If the targeted youth were to be taught disaster preparedness in class they would absorb some of the information but if a disaster preparedness game was created that would present the information in a more appealing manner. Gaming would allow kids to exercise the 18 things needed in order to form a habit. A commitment to thirty days would be achievable because kids when they get a new game will play it daily for several months, especially if they were asked to play during school. As long as the game went over what they would need to do to be prepared the information would be absorbed. The second thing needed for a habit is a daily thing which would be addressed by the kids playing daily! Starting simple is the third thing, and it would be easily achievable by having levels to the game.  If the game asks for participation outside of it the targeted youth will be likely to exercise what they learn and thus be practicing the habits and better forming them. Reminders could be sent via phones, or via the computer. You’d be amazed at the number of kids in that range that have cellphones or have access to tablets and computers. Consistency is important in forming a habit so the playing of the game as well as the practicing what the game teaches is important. Parents, teachers, and adults should make sure to have the targeted youth exercise the activities and follow the same steps as in the game. The whole getting a buddy thing would be easy by the game character as well as by the adult promoting the game and the exercises outside of the game. Triggers should be just the game itself as well as the frequent outside of game practices. Imperfection is important for practicing and learning while forming a habit and the game would allow for failure as well as success which will better promote the habit. Temptation to stray from the habit will be there but that is why the adult reinforcement is needed to help promote and take away the temptation to stray from the habit formation. Role models will be accessible through the game and the targeted youth should respond positively to them. Experiments and trials will be accessible through the game, simulating a disaster and whether or not the avatar is sufficiently prepared. The targeted youth should be encouraged to keep some kind of record of their preparedness strategies in both the games and in real life. The benefits of disaster preparedness should be expressed not just through the game but also in real life if the targeted youth is faced with a disaster.

All in all, I feel as though the best way to systematically train youth between the ages of eight to thirteen to develop disaster preparedness habit would be through gaming. The youth respond really well to gaming and I feel that it will allow a bridge to be formed into the subjects real life allowing them an easier way to form a habit and a way that the subject will feel motivated to develop and maintain the habit.