A Nerd Girl’s Adventure: Engaging “I Got This” App Educates On Type-2 Diabetes Through a Little Black Girl Named Emily

Hey y’all! Another entry in this A Nerd Girl’s Adventure With… for your pleasure. The last segment was about everyone’s fave Peggy Carter and a superb tube of red lipstick, and this time around I stumbled upon this neat app titled “I Got This,” a first-person interactive story which centers on a day in the life of a girl named Emily who is having an extremely off day. In fact, she’s experiencing all the symptoms of Type-2 diabetes in a school day (unbeknownst to her at first, of course). You play through Emily’s eyes to see how this illness, which affects more than 29 million people in the United States, brings her to a point that she has to make some serious lifestyle changes for her health.

Extreme Fatigue, just one symptom of diabetes.

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From their website I learned that this app was created by The Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley in collaboration with the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, which ranks as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. While not the first app they developed, it is perhaps the first that seeks to make a mark in educating the younger crowd on such a disease and the havoc it can bring unexpectedly.

Price: The app is FREE. It is available in both the Apple store and through Amazon where I downloaded the app for my Kindle Fire.  Note for parents: This app is completely free of ads and in-app purchases!

Replay Value: One complaint I’m seeing is that finishing the game quickly is a big turn-off. You’ll probably finish in ten minutes or so, fifteen if you take a quick bathroom break and leave your device running. It’s not a long game — long enough to tell a story, get you invested, and give you the basics of Type-2 diabetes and realistic solutions to living with it.

Age Appropriate For: All ages. Looks like the app’s target range is 9–11 years old.

Bonus points: Melanin-blessed characters! A kid with locs!  Other possible POC characters as well? Representation Matters! The younger that kids are when they see themselves reflected positively in the media they consume, the better equipped they are–this is one of my favorite examples most recently.

The game also features a really quirky art style that may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I personally love. I’m here for seeing Black families present in stories and sharing support systems. That’s a comfort to see, even for fictional characters.

A scene like this in the app shows a parent talking about family history, which is important when it comes to considering if you’re high risk.

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I was speaking with my mom — a former nurse and caretaker, who has been working at an elementary school as an aide for a number of years now — about the app after she initially played through it. I wanted to know from her experience working in the medical field about the accuracy of the symptoms presented in the app and if, as a person who works around young children, she thought this was an effective way to combat this disease and spread information. She had lots to say:

Spot on! This is very important for younger people to see. Correcting bad behavior like skipping breakfast, consuming sugary snacks and drinks too often, and little to no exercise can help in prevention of Type-2, but also advocate to lead healthier, fuller lives.

Think of all the adults who are stuck in this type of routine because they couldn’t break it earlier on! The earlier we teach kids, the better! This is especially important because we are finding younger and younger children with Type-2 diabetes.

You may brush that off, but know that it looks like the youngest patient in the world to be diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes was a three-year old girl. Yes, you read that right. A three-year-old. Still think I’m overreacting?

So while I probably can’t file this as a self-care app (like this jewel Lauren introduced) I still think it’s a cool little app to download and play through. I really do love to see technology’s marriage to education, especially for younger people. We are now in an age where technology is doing miraculous feats for people in the medical field. I mean, folks are printing prosthetic limbs from 3D printers for disabled kids! How awesome is that? So combining code and graphics with an educational story on a preventable disease which can be used to open up dialogue about one of the most common diseases that 1 out of  4 people in the United Sates don’t even know that they have sounds like a winner to me.

For more info check out the American Diabetes Association which is a great resource on learning more of the basics of Type-2 diabetes. Also see the Diabetes Hands Foundation, a non-profit organization which offers support, circulates information, and helps connect people with diabetes and their loved ones with others. If you download the app be sure to share and let us know in the comments!

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  • Carrie McClain is writer, editor and media scholar. Other times she's known as a Starfleet Communications Officer, Comics Auntie, and Golden Saucer Frequenter. Nowadays you can usually find her avoiding Truck-kun and forgetting her magical girl transformation device. She/Her

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