High School Story Launches New Version of its Top 50 Mobile Game to Help Teens with Eating Disorders and Body Image Stress
Socially impactful game partners with National Eating Disorders Association, offers educational resources and expert support to the 20.2 million American teenagers who are unhappy with their bodies
Pixelberry Studios, maker of the Top 50 mobile game High School Story today announces a new version of the game addressing teens’ eating disorder and body image issues and providing players in-game resources and support. The game, which has over 10 million downloads, uses messaging and information developed in partnership with the National Eating Disorders Association and its youth program Proud2Bme to offer support and educational resources to the 20.2 million teenagers nationwide that are unhappy with their bodies (1).
“Body image and eating disorders are serious issues, but they can be difficult topics for teens to talk about,” Pixelberry CEO Oliver Miao said. “We’re committed to using our game to educate teens where they play, encourage them to talk about social issues and make a positive impact in their lives.”
Body image worries are serious stressors for teenagers, with recent studies finding that nearly four in five teen girls and one in five teen boys admit to being unhappy with their bodies. Public figures and government officials are speaking out against unrealistic body types portrayed in the media, which can contribute to eating disorders among adolescents. However, since only one in four teens with an eating disorder are receiving targeted medical help, Pixelberry Studios decided to take a stand on this issue the best way they knew how – through gaming.
High School Story’s new version follows Mia, an in-game character, who overhears an insensitive comment about her physique. She then relapses to an unhealthy “crash diet” and exercise regimen, and edits her yearbook photo to make herself look thinner. Through the storyline – which is based on real-life situations researched extensively by Pixelberry and NEDA – players learn about common causes and unfortunate consequences of body image stress and eating disorders. Additionally, players gain access to helpful FAQs about maintaining a healthy body image, and can communicate directly with trained NEDA helpline staff through an in-game support system.
“Eating disorders are no game,” commented Claire Mysko, who oversees NEDA’s teen outreach and supervises its safe online community, www.Proud2BMe.org. “But it’s important to speak to kids in their own language and that means being online, in social media and even games. Proud2Bme works extensively with young people to address the issues of poor self-esteem and body image, which can lead to the development of an eating disorder in those who are predisposed. We are grateful to Pixelberry Studios for this opportunity to work together.”
High School Story, a mobile simulation game that challenges players to build their dream high school from the ground up, has already found success addressing social issues that are relevant to its teen-dominated player base. Last fall, the studio launched an anti-cyberbullying campaign, which has since educated over 2.5 million teens about cyberbullying prevention, directed over a 100 players every week to professional counselors through in-game resources, and raised over $250,000 for an anti-bullying charity.
About Pixelberry Studios:
Pixelberry Studios is a mobile game company based in Mountain View, California. Founded in 2012 by EA veterans Oliver Miao, Keith Emnett and Winston She, it is committed to creating fun, engaging games that change how people play and learn. Its first game, High School Story, challenges players to build their dream high school from the ground up, and is a Top 50 game in the App Store with over 10 million total downloads.
To learn more about Pixelberry Studios and High School Story, visit www.highschoolstory.com/
VSCpr for Pixelberry
Launched in 2011, Proud2Bme provides youth with a positive, fun and safe online community to learn, connect with others and take action for personal and social change. Through engaging content and community features, this unique online space offers news about entertainment, fashion, beauty and other relevant pop culture in a safe, age-appropriate environment. Additionally, there are forums and chat rooms where teens are able to interact and make new friends. In developing the site, teens ages 13-17 were asked to help identify top issues impacting them and their peers, relating to teen body image, self-esteem, media impact and disordered eating. Several teens act in an ongoing editorial advisory capacity to the site, which is monitored by NEDA’s trained helpline volunteers.
About the National Eating Disorders Association:
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit www.MyNEDA.org
Vicki Greenleaf — 323-660-5800
(1) 120,244,300 American teens, based on the four in five teen girls and one in five teen boys who are unhappy with their bodies, and on 2012 US Census Data about male and female teenaged populations.
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