My Topics

31 January 2019

Developing a Serious Game That Helps Elderly To Protect Themselves Against Doorstep Scams

Elderly people are often victim of so-called ‘doorstep scams’, in which swindlers try to get hold of their personal information or belongings. To make them more aware of how to act in such situations, researchers developed an interactive tablet application and presented it at the 7th Games and Learning Alliance Conference. This application allows elderly users to practice their resilience to doorstep scams in a virtual setting. 

Take aways

  • The developed application has much potential as an instrument to make elderly people more aware of how to act during doorstep scams.

Study information

  • Who?

    5 elderly security advisors working for senior citizen organisation KBO-PCOB (2 female, 3 male)

  • Where?

    The Netherlands

  • How?

    The tablet application was implemented using the game-engine Unity. The app allows users to play six different scenarios involving scams (two at the door, two on the street and two on the phone). In each scenario, users can engage in a simulated conversation with a virtual character, and obtain automated feedback on their performance. A ‘speech analysis module’ provides automated feedback on the level of assertiveness in the user’s speech. The elderly participants tried the application and provided feedback during a group discussion.

Facts and findings

  • The application worked as intended: users were able to play a variety of scenarios through a multiple choice menu. 
  • Users were positive about the application; they thought the scenarios resembled experiences in daily life and particularly saw its added value for group training sessions. 
  • Interesting fact: the application (trucs tegen babbeltrucs) is available via the app stores, and will be used by the elderly organization KBO-PCOB during their information sessions for elderly. 
  • Important fact: the effectiveness of this app has not yet been proven. So, although the users were positive about the app, we don’t know yet if the app is really effective in making elderly people more resilient to doorstep scams.