Allan is President of Canada’s non-profit Child Safety Research & Innovation Center and CEO of the video game developer Entertaining Knowledge Inc. He is also an expert in the field of child safety and street proofing of children.
Allan founded Child Safety Research and Innovation Center to work with his computer game company to blend the non-profit world of advocacy and safety with the engaging world of computer games. The partnership is designed to develop computer games to teach and reinforce safety skills, as well as measure vulnerabilities in children.
Born and raised in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and trained as a ships navigator with simulation computer programmers, Allan adapted the tools designed to train navigation to training children on safety. His passion to help protect children from sexual predators began in 1985 when two members of his family were involved in the search for a missing girl in the United States. Her body was discovered hours later - she had been abducted and murdered by a known child molester.
From that point forward, Allan devoted himself to finding ways to street proof children. Early in his work, Allan determined that the most effective way to engage, entertain and educate children is through role-playing computer game so that the safety skills could be acquired by having the player simulate the safe practices he or she should use in real life.
The first product, ready for a Fall 2008 release, is “Sydney Safe-Seeker and The Incredible Journey Home”. This is the first of a series of games, learning tools and parent, school and policing applications that use non-threatening and non-violent scenarios to measure a child’s vulnerability to the various sexual predator ploys (Appeals for Assistance, Job Offer, and Gifts etc.). His second game will focus on bullying and cyberbullying, as well.
The first of its kind, worldwide, the Sydney Safe-Seeker game promotes street proofing by putting the children into role-playing scenarios with animated “Trouble-Seeker” characters. Given safe and unsafe choices, the child loses their tools and loot is they make the unsafe choice and can only retrieve it if they can identify the character for the police. It teaches and measures their vulnerability to the ten different categories of plays, and how observant they are. The consequence of the player reacting unsafely is immediate, but instead of their being threatened physically they lose an item they need to win the game. The more they play the game, the safer they become. Additionally, once the child’s particular vulnerability is identified, the adult caregiver is provided with tools and materials that can be used to help that child learn safer behaviors.
Allan’s work has received the support and attention of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Victims of Violence, Chris Hansen (of Dateline’s To Catch a Predator series), WiredSafety.org and many others.
Allan continues to reside in Canada and splits his time between there and the NY Metropolitan area where he maintains a second home with his wife.
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Build-a-Bear Workshop Inc.
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