For parents worried about the dangers of social networking, Carnegie Mellon University has launched a game app that teaches kids how to use those sites with caution.
The free mobile app BeSeen — launched in partnership with Web Wise Kids, a nonprofit specializing in Internet safety — is a single-player game that replicates a social networking site where players create a profile and travel through a condensed school year. To earn rewards, the player must make positive choices when presented with challenging social situations and solve puzzles along the way.
The game is designed to help kids understand responsible online behavior such as securing their personal information, protecting their privacy and defending their peers against cyberbullying.[Read: Social Media Statistics: Mind-Boggling Facts About the Medium]
“It’s never too early to talk to kids about safe online behavior, particularly when accessing social networks,” says Lynette Owens, director of Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids & Families. “Using the Internet is an important life skill. As parents introduce new technology to their kids, this is another tool they can use to help their kids make good choices.”
The app is currently available for Apple iOS and Android OS later in the year.