If I Were Jack is a Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) resource developed by a research team at Queen's University Belfast, led by Professor Maria Lohan.
The resource focuses on young men and unintended pregnancy. The interactive video drama (IVD) tells the story of Jack, a teenager who has just found out that his girlfriend Emma is unexpectedly pregnant. The user is encouraged to put themselves in Jack’s shoes and consider how they would feel if they were in his situation., It is designed to encourage reflection and discussion among teenage women, as well as teenage men on the gender power relations that typically locate reproductive responsibility with girls/women. It includes a computer-based IVD, educational materials to assist teachers in facilitating classroom discussions around the issues raised in the IVD and web-based educational materials for parents. It has been designed with key stakeholders to fit into the relationship and sexuality education curricula of all countries in the UK and Ireland.View the resource
A number of international adaptations of If I Were Jack are currently underway.
- Professor Alejandra López Gómez has led the development of the 'Si Yo Fuera Juan' version in Uruguay for Latin America.
- Professor Sarah Skeen and Dr Áine Aventin have led the development of the 'If I Were Thabo' version in Lesotho and South Africa.
- The development of an Irish language version is also currently underway.
A number of strategies were used to maximise the usefulness and effectiveness of the If I Were Jack resource. These include:
- developing a credible, evidence-based, theory-informed resource which can be feasibly implemented in schools, and is amenable to rigorous evaluation.
- ensuring acceptability by involving key health and educational statutory stakeholders in resource development and using an educational modality that engages young people.
- involving parents and young people in the co-design of the intervention.
- delivering teacher training as part of the resource.
If I Were Jack has the following key messages:
- Relationships, sex and pregnancy can be positive experiences when they are mutually consensual and an individual is prepared and ready for them.
- Young men, as well as young women, have roles and responsibilities with respect to relationships, sex and pregnancy.
- With the correct skills and knowledge, young men and young women can make safe and responsible decisions relating to relationships, sex and pregnancy.
- Unintended teenage pregnancy can be a stressful experience for some people that may involve difficult decisions and potentially challenging outcomes.
- It is important for young people to consider their personal values and beliefs regarding relationships, sex and pregnancy and to make a plan for positive experiences that are in line with these.
- Confidential and impartial support and information is available locally and online for young people in relation to all aspects of their sexual health.
If I Were Jack takes a positive, comprehensive, objective and non-judgmental approach to RSE. The educational objectives are to increase teenagers’ awareness of:
- how relationships, sex and pregnancy can be positive experiences when they are mutually consensual and a person is prepared and ready for them;
- their own personal attitudes, values and beliefs with regard to relationships, sex and pregnancy and how to effectively communicate these to others;
- the attitudes, values and beliefs of their family and peers and those of the school ethos in relation to relationships, sex and pregnancy;
- the importance of personal responsibility and agency in avoiding unintended pregnancy;
- gender norms and stereotypes associated with relationships, sex and pregnancy;
- reliable sources of online information on sexual health; and
- local sexual health support services.