“They quickly fall in love and everything seems fine.
“What we do over a number of chapters in the game we begin to show some of the subtleties and the grooming process in which coercion, manipulation and control begins to happen. There is some physical abuse.
“We allow young people to become the main characters, it’s very interactive, they make decisions within the game which have consequences.”
The game is designed to reflect the life of teens as accurately as possible, with social media heavily influencing the narrative.
“We use social media within the game to show a more sinister side to Facebook and Snapchat, however wonderful they are, which allows people to shame, to blame, to use as a surveillance tool”, said Dr Kirkup.
None in Three, the research centre running the project at the university, was awarded €400,000 (£356,000) by the EU for a pilot project in Barbados and Grenada. The game followed a 10-year-old boy called Jesse who lived with his mother and her abusive boyfriend.