Last week, I talked about mobile apps and privacy. This week, I found BeSeen, a free mobile app that teaches kids about privacy and over sharing on social networks.
BeSeen was developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Web Wise Kids in partnership with CTIA – The Wireless Foundation. The app is a single-player game that simulates a social networking website. The player creates a profile and starts earning “friend” characters and interacting with them. Players receive character updates on the social network and must choose the correct response to win awards and make new friends.
The app has 27 different challenges. The challenges teach kids the difference between positive & negative personal details; how to identify private, personal & public information and use privacy settings; and what to do if you witness cyberbullying, slander, or sharing personal information online.
Although the lessons are important for all kids, the app is recommended for ages 11 and up. The scenarios used are geared toward older kids. For example on Lesson 3: Manage Your Online Presence, the scenario’s first post is “Ugghh, still recovering from Saturday’s after-show party, so much fun tho!!” In this challenge, the post includes a photo of students at a party drinking. If the player does not recommend “remove the post from her profile”, the friend ends up rejected from her first choice college later in the school year, after the college’s admissions office does some background research on her online.
The challenge posts are realistic. The lessons taught focus on not only what the character should do but what the player can do in these situations. The entire game requires approximately two hours to play, which involves completing the fall and spring semesters of the BeSeen school year. Right now the app is only available on iTunes for iPhone and also compatible with iPad. I will have to wait until December 2011 to download the app on my Android phone.
If you download BeSeen, let us know what you and your kid think.