For my final year project I wanted to explore the use of character design in conjunction with new technology and see whether it could help in the fight against bullying.
The development of my character Michty Mo - Playground Protector was updated on a regular basis (hah!) on it's own blog post www.michtymo.blogspot.com where you can find out more about the character & project.
Through research for my dissertation I found that children were reluctant to tell an adult/parent/teacher if they were victims of this dreadful activity. So by researching the use of spokes - character design in advertising past & present I wanted to find out if I could use some of these techniques in creating a sympathetic character that children could relate to & trust enough to open up talk about any bullying issues.
It was my intention to create a youth club environment online and using Facebook & Twitter to create a type of social networking group as a possible means of interactivity using the character as a host . The idea of members having to enrol, where they could have access to online material, monthly newsletter updates, downloadable freebies, games etc, hopefully creating an online community where members could relate their own advice from their own experiences. The idea of an identity e.g. badges and stickers could be introduced & distributed to members as a means of recognition to other members to create a sense of belonging which would ultimately encourage self-confidence and the feeling that they are not alone and it is not just them that this vile activity is happening to.
As a way of introducing the character to the targeted age group I created this short animation below -
as well as the animated piece I created a printed comic to sit alongside it to further promote the character. The response from the public during the time of the exhibition was very helpful & the amount of people that confessed to being victims or having knowledge of someone else being bullied was quite alarming.
I'm not saying that the creation of this character will eradicate bullying but I am hoping that it could be used in conjunction with other anti bullying iniatives and help alleviate the despair & loneliness victims of this social disease feel.