Featured News ‘Calm Your Farm’! Farm injury prevention game for teens

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Mon, 27 Nov 2023

‘Calm Your Farm’! Farm injury prevention game for teens

Image: Stijn te Strake

Researchers have created a game designed for teenagers to learn about potential hazards on the farm and how to reduce injury risk.

Professor Richard Franklin from James Cook University said every teenager living in a rural or regional area has a gruesome story about a farm injury.

“It might be fingers caught in machinery, or a quad bike tipping over, or a kick from a horse. Sometimes it’s about another young person losing their life,” said Professor Franklin.

He said several universities have joined forces to create an innovative solution to the problem – a free, online, educational game called ‘Calm Your Farm’.

Project lead Dr Amy Peden is an injury prevention researcher at UNSW Medicine & Health and adjunct Senior Research Fellow at James Cook University.

She said adolescents are vulnerable to injury in the farm environment and frequently exposed to hazards not typically seen in the home.

“They are also often given more on-farm work responsibilities as they get older, but, like many other injury issues, farm safety and injury prevention is often promoted for very young children or adults. Adolescents get lost in between,” Dr Peden said.

She said the game has four modules based on high-risk areas or hazards on the farm: Vehicles, Workshop, Paddock and Water. Players select a character at the beginning and progress through the modules, completing mini games along the way.

“It’s the principle of gamification – you don’t want it to be too easy. You want kids to come back again and keep learning,” Dr Peden says.

The researchers hope the game engages teenagers more strongly in farm safety and helps to reduce the number of farm-related injuries.

“Farm injury statistics have not been dropping as fast as other injuries and in some areas have remained stagnant over the past decade,” said JCU’s Professor Richard Franklin.

“We hope this resource will engage young minds and help keep people safe on farms.”

‘Calm Your Farm’ is freely available online at www.calmfarm.education

The multi-disciplinary group that developed the game includes researchers in injury prevention, education and game development from UNSW Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University and the University of Sydney Rural Medical School. This project is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry through the National Farm Safety Education Fund: Improving Farm Safety Practices grant program.


Professor Richard Franklin
E: Richard.franklin@jcu.edu.au

Dr Amy Peden
E: a.peden@unsw.edu.au