Varjomaailma – Shadow World

Varjomaailma – Shadow World

Shadow World, Varjomaailma in Finnish, is the first serious attempt to reach children and young people suffering from parental substance misuse, and to provide them with information, support and means to deal with the difficult life situation.

The starting point of the Shadow World is the observation that about one out of ten children suffer from parental substance misuse in Finland.

Unstable, quarrelsome and stressful family environment increases a child’s risk for social exclusion, mental health problems and future substance misuse. These children are very difficult to reach due to their families’ tendency to avoid attention and interventions by authorities.

The innovative use of information and communication technology has allowed for approaching the target group directly, penetrating the curtain of silence, which is maintained by shame and families’ internal social control.

The two basic methods used to reach children are a comic book and this interactive website, both utilizing a narrative approach and a manga-style appearance. In addition to the story, the comic contains links to the website and information on how and where to seek help. On the website child can share his or her own story anonymously, either by writing or by creating a comic strip with an application specifically developed for the purpose.