So, totally in the interest of making sure something is safe before I pass it on to our visitors, I just “played” Carnegie Cadets for over an hour. I found Carnegie Cadets when Twitter “suggested” I follow them. Don’t you love when technology makes suggestions to you? Okay, I admit, it still freaks me out a little. But, as I tell kids every day – Every keystroke you make is being recorded somewhere in the clouds and your technology is creating a profile of you. That profile can lead to good things – finding a new game online, or not so good things – hitting you daily with pop ups and ads, which could lead to spam and viruses.
But back to the game – according to their website:
The MySecureCyberSpace Game is an interactive game designed for 4th and 5th graders that teaches Internet Safety and Computer Security in a safe, fun setting. Through the game, players learn how to become safe, educated Cyber citizens before entering the Internet on their own. Players join the rest of the Cadets in completing training missions that teach different Internet topics, earning a Gold Badge for each mission. The missions cover fundamental skills such as how to spot spam, how to keep personal information private, and how to identify website traps, such as dangerous pop-up windows, forms that ask for personal information and webpages that show inappropriate content. As they complete missions and help other characters, players earn Academy credits to spend on items for their own personalized dorm room at the academy.
The game was created by Carnegie Mellon’s Information Networking Institute and Carnegie Mellon CyLab. The Carnegie Cyber Academy and Carnegie Cadets: The MySecureCyberspace Game are provided as part of the university’s outreach project for cyberawareness called MySecureCyberspace. Teachers can download free supplemental classroom materials (aligned with NETS) which include more than a dozen suggested plans that incorporate the game and game topics, printable classroom activities and hint sheets. I downloaded the Cyberbullying one and thought it was really good. Caution – the game has to be downloaded to a computer, but then needs Internet connectivity to play. The download took about 20 minutes and it is a big file – you may want to talk to IT before downloading this if you’re using it in a classroom.
Even though I am well past 5th grade, I managed to wander around and actually collect 3 Gold Badges and decorate my dorm room with my new lava lamp! There are several side games that may not earn badges but stay with the theme and include matching, puzzle and find the differences type activities. Did I mention the game is free (except for the space it takes up on your computer!). And speaking of free, there is also a link to a free mobile app about social networking called BeSeen. This app was developed in conjunction with our old friends at WebWiseKids – so you know it is safe and smart.