The parents of murder victim Daniel Morcombe have launched a new version of an online game that teaches children ways to avoid sexual predators.
University of the Sunshine Coast professor Christian Jones developed the original space-themed game, named Orbit, years ago. He has since liaised with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to now launch the newly badged Orbit Rescue.
Denise and Bruce Morcombe said protecting children from sexual abuse “must be our highest priority”, adding that the game was fun as well as educational.
“Orbit Rescue will teach children in a non-threatening way to recognise predatory behaviour – like secrets, special gifts and other grooming techniques,” they said in a statement.
“This could be from an adult they know in the real world or a ‘friend’ that they have never met but frequently chat to online. The game then illustrates safety strategies like reporting.”
Professor Jones said that the game had improved significantly since the original version, with touchscreen functionality now available through the iPad and Android tablet apps, no in-game purchases and no collection of personal information.
“The app doesn’t require a login or a network connection, and there are more character customisations,” he said. “The game takes less time to play, is easier to complete, and is easily downloaded and installed from the app store and Google Play.”
This is not the first time the Daniel Morcombe Foundation has delved into the digital world. Denise and Bruce Morcombe in 2015 launched an app for parents to track the whereabouts of their children.
The two Queenslanders established the non-profit Daniel Morcombe Foundation in 2005, after their son was abducted and killed in December 2003 while waiting for a bus on the Sunshine Coast. In March 2014, Brett Peter Cowan was handed a life sentence for Daniel’s murder, indecently dealing with a child under the age of 16 and improperly dealing with a corpse.