With my oldest, I have many opportunities to talk about technology. She introduces me to Minecraft and I show her Twitter. Overall, we are hitting the important points and I only occasionally receive an eye roll. In fact, I am doing a better job with her than my youngest.
My youngest is by far the easiest one to talk to about technology. He still believes I know everything. The problem is he really isn’t online, yet. He will be soon and I want to make sure he understands how to protect his privacy and surf safely. But, I find it hard to start a dialogue when nothing comes up and my one-sided conversation sounds more like a privacy lecture.
This weekend, I went in search of apps or games that we could use to jump-start our talks. It took a while but I found some that teach online privacy and safety. We played most of them and I listed all of them below. His favorite was the FBI’s Surf Island and one of my other children liked the Astro Circus. All of them are free.
Brain Pop – My son saw these apps and wanted to download them because his school uses BrainPop. Both BrainPop and BrainPop Jr have short videos on a variety of topics. After each video, kids can take a quiz. Kids cannot view many of the videos without a subscription. We did find some free ones in BrainPop on blogs and digital etiquette under Digital Citizenship. BrainPop Jr had a free internet safety video.
Zippep’s Astro Circus – This one is a game from CyberSmart in Australia. Kids tour the Astro Circus where each tent is a different online safety game. The games teach about passwords, protecting personal information and cyberbullying. Part of the game is also teaching kids when they should ask a parent for help.
Beseen – This app is for older kids (11+). It is a pretend social network that teaches kids about sharing online. Kids interact with their imaginary friends by choosing what they should post and share online. My older kids have played this game but my youngest was not as interested. This is a great app for kids to try out before going on Facebook or Instagram.
Privacy Pirates –Everyone loves a pirate and these pirates teach kids how to protect their online privacy. Privacy Pirates is from MediaSmart in Canada and is for ages 7-9. The pirates ask questions about online safety. When kids answer questions correctly, they receive a piece of a treasure map.
FBI Cyber Surf Islands – This game is for kids from 3rd – 8th grade. Each grade level has its own island. On the island, kids play games, watch videos and solve puzzles to learn about protecting personal information, password strength, cell phone safety, social networking, and online gaming safety. Some of the videos also include real-life stories of kids who have faced cyber bullies and online predators.
The Watchers – This last game is both a board game and an online game. The game is for kids 8+ and teaches about online privacy. This game looks interesting, but there is a limit to how many online privacy games a child will play in one weekend. We tabled this one for another day.
If your family gets a chance to play the Watchers or if I missed a great game, please let me know. I am planning on adding a new page to my blog for apps & games that teach online privacy and safety.