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Educational Games and Internet Safety

Because of the ever-growing, ever-changing, and sometimes nebulous nature of the internet, everyone can benefit from learning about internet safety! We’ve established before why media literacy (an individual’s ability to find, critically analyze, and actively engage with all forms of media) is so important. Media literacy relates to internet safety, but there are some key differences – which is why today, we’re deep-diving into the latest news and greatest games related to internet safety. Game-based learning is a natural and fun teacher of this particular topic. In low-stakes simulations, players can practice dealing with difficult situations without consequences, leading them to feel more prepared for any real internet emergencies, snafus, or scams they may encounter in the future. Read on for a round-up and games and news that will make everyone an internet safety supreme genius!*

via Giphy

*No FBI level of internet genius guaranteed.

Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn if you learned anything new from this list, or if you know of any more nifty game-based learning internet safety resources we didn’t include here!

For young learners

Though the internet can be an unpredictable place, the good news is that young learners have plenty of opportunities to learn about internet safety through the very games and platforms they use on a daily basis for school and for fun – from Minecraft to Google’s Interland. When it comes to teaching digital citizenship through games, parent and teacher involvement is the best way to ensure students are getting everything they can from game-based learning experiences. The following is the latest news about internet safety resources for kids!

via The Verge

Facebook’s Messenger Kids Wants to Teach Online Safety (Lifewire)

At the beginning of this year, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) rolled out a series of gamified experiences for young users on Messenger Kids. Emphasizing kindness, respect, safety, and fun while online, these games include Rough Reviews and Order Up. In “Rough Reviews,” players differentiate between kind and unkind comments and learn how to use features such as block and report. In Order Up, players learn how emojis can convey emotions while serving customers with food that suits their mood. 

Minecraft: Education Edition Launches a New World to Teach Students About Internet Safety in Honor of Safer Internet Day (Xbox Wire)

To commemorate February 8th, otherwise known as Safer Internet Day, Minecraft: Education Edition launched CyberSafe: Home Sweet Hmm. This immersive experience teaches students citizenship, communication, and critical thinking in the context of internet safety. Through four different scenarios, kids learn about the role of the internet in their everyday lives, the importance of keeping personal information secure, and how to go to a trusted adult for help. CyberSafe: Home Sweet Hmm was designed as an introduction to cyber safety for players ages 7-12, and is available for free to all Minecraft: Education Edition users as of March of this year!

New program to tackle online predatory behaviour risk for children (Life Ed.)

As part of another initiative last month for Safer Internet Day, bCyberwise, created by Australian preventative health education company LifeEd, was updated as a part of a new program to protect children from predatory behavior online. In bCyberwise, players explore Nubbin Castle, home to a family of friendly monsters, as they learn about protecting their personal information, positive and respectful communication, cyberbullying, help-seeking, and other safe behaviors while using technology to communicate. 

For adults

Young learners aren’t the only ones who benefit from knowing the best practices of internet safety! From keeping credit card and sensitive workplace information secure and everything in-between, cybersecurity, in particular, is something that every adult needs to know. And as we’ve mentioned here and there on the blog before, game-based learning isn’t Trix cereal – it isn’t just for kids! In fact, multiple studies have shown that when it comes to corporate training, game-based learning can lead to enhanced learning outcomes for adults too. There’s also evidence to suggest that experiential learning, like game-based learning, is a better method for security awareness training than more traditional forms of education. With that established, here’s a list of cybersecurity learning games for adults!

via Preloaded

Zero Threat

Created by Preloaded and Eukleia, this turn-based strategy game aims to make the invisible visible. Inspired by card game mechanics and the fact that for many, cyber threats fly under the radar until it’s too late, Preloaded pitches the game as follows: “Players are under attack and must protect the data in their network at all costs by choosing which proactive countermeasure to play and where. The game board, seen as a collection of interconnected nodes, represents the moving parts of an organisation’s real-world network: mobile phones, laptops, servers, cloud storage and, of course, the staff themselves. The strength and frequency of incoming threats – from social engineering to browser attacks – gradually ramps up, leading to outbreaks that steal data and spread throughout the network.” This game aims to teach employees not only how to recognize threats and protect themselves from cyber attacks, but also how these attacks are not isolated, because everything on the internet is connected in some way or another. 

via PBS

CyberSecurity Lab

In PBS’s CyberSecurity Lab, players fend off hackers and figure out how to strengthen the cybersecurity of their lab – all while building computer coding, logical reasoning, and critical thinking skills. The game is made up of several cybersecurity challenges, including a Coding Challenge, Password-Cracking Challenge, and Social Engineering Challenge. While these skills are great for anyone and everyone, this game is geared towards those who are interested in a career as a cybersecurity professional. The game also includes a suite of videos and real-life stories, quizzes, a glossary of terms, and more.

via Living Security

HotSpot

Taking a slightly different approach to cybersecurity education than the previous games, Living Security’s game HotSpot places players into an office environment, where they must seek out as many security violations as possible. Once they find violations, players must attempt to make meaningful changes in the workplace and break bad security habits. Showing issues of cybersecurity from a bird’s eye view, players can learn how the actions of a group of people make up the level of security in a workplace. 

And there you have it, internet safety news and games for all! Are you interested in making the internet a more respectful place for young learners? Or maybe you’re interested in making sure all of your employees know how to keep your workplace safe from cyber attacks and other online threats? Creating an educational game is a great way to accomplish either of these goals – and we’d love to chat with you about your vision!

More on learning and gaming safely at any age:

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