New game helps kids stay safe on Internet

/ Source: The Associated Press

Having trouble navigating cyberspace, kids?  Never fear — George Jetson is here.  Jetson, Kim Possible and other pop-culture characters are part of a new interactive game designed to help children understand and stay safe on the Internet.    Called MySecureCyberspace, the game was the result of a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University's Cylab and its Information Networking Institute.

Game users begin by watching a primer about the Internet — a grainy, black-and-white movie with a booming narrator's voice and marching band score reminiscent of old news movie reels.

With the help of Commander Omni, players — dubbed cadets — battle Elvirus and MC Spammer while learning to identify spam, delete viruses and identify suspicious people in chat rooms.

The software also includes a Web portal.  "The portal provides users with the tactical countermeasures to stay cybersafe and to better understand the legal, ethical and privacy issues related to a variety of cybersecurity threats," said Dena Haritos Tsamitis, the institute's head.

The game will be available through a partnership with i-SAFE America, a nonprofit foundation that promotes safe and responsible use of the Web. The game will be tested in 20,000 households in Pittsburgh before being released to the general public later this summer, its creators said.