To read this content please select one of the options below:

Advergames for children's health education and communication practices

Pui Yuen Lee (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China)
Kung Wong Lau (Hong Kong Shue Yan University, Hong Kong, China)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 2 May 2023

Issue publication date: 10 August 2023




Appropriate and deliberate use of drug prevention methods is the key to educating children about the dangers of addiction and the way of prevention. With the growing prevalence of digital games among youngsters, health education and communication among children can try adopting advergames on digital television instead of traditional media, which has also been supported by prior research. It is, therefore, this research attempts to apply digital games as a means of health promotion and carry drug prevention messages through digital gameplay. Based on behavioral models, this research investigated the communication design and effectiveness of advergames for children's health promotion.


Two studies were conducted in this research. In Study 1, the research team investigated how public health message was assimilated into advergames, which affect the health behaviors of children, they are (1) Knowledge about Drug, (2) Attitude Toward Drug and (3) Perceived Severity toward Drug-abuse. In Study 2, this research investigated the effects of the advergames on children through a between-group experiment. A pre-test/post-test for the control group and experimental group with 180 primary school children in Hong Kong was conducted.


The finding showed the potential use of advergames in health communication among children. The result proved that the anti-drug advergame is a more successful intervention among the participating children in the experimental group than the control group. The result triggers further investigations in academic, professional and educational values for advergames design, health education and communication areas.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the chosen small sampling locally in Hong Kong, the research results may lack generalizability for other countries or practices.

Practical implications

The study evokes children's awareness of drug prevention, encourages their physical and emotional wellness, and finally advocates a healthy lifestyle for them, through the deployment of health game communication.


Despite this research studied the use of advergames, instead of digital games in general, for health promotion and delivering drug prevention messages. The research design distinctively allowed the primary students to participate in the design of the advergames instead of being passive players and/or in the information delivery process. This approach is indeed a pioneer attempt in that limited practice has been found academically. The study expands academic and practical knowledge on health game communication.



Lee, P.Y. and Lau, K.W. (2023), "Advergames for children's health education and communication practices", Health Education, Vol. 123 No. 2, pp. 41-54.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles