In this day and age, everyone is connected to the internet. Whether it’s via video games, YouTube, or even course work. Where and when does everyone learn proper netiquette and safety? In classrooms, it can be a dry subject and kids always think their parents are using scare tactics. What if there was a fun and interactive way kids could learn about internet safety from the comforts of their home? I introduce to you safyKids.
safyKids is a digital safety education video game based out of Barcelona, Spain. It was designed for children aged four to twelve and utilizes artificial intelligence to adapt to the age level chosen. Created by educators, artists, and programmers, keeping the world’s children is their number one priority. The world of safyKids recreates Central Park, of New York, in a vibrate and whimsical way that any child is sure to fall in love with. With over 100 levels and twelve different maps, and a MMORGP design in the works, I was ready to jump in headfirst. After all, my first passion in life was working with kids on the spectrum and I was hoping to see if this program would help some of my former, but still loved, students.
After downloading the beta, I found myself face to face with characters that can only be described as modern day Pinocchios. They looked as though they were made of wood and had the most beautiful orange hair! Lisa and Bart are their names and keeping kiddos safe is their game! The animation is vibrant and full of life, everything from the trees to the pavement screamed whimsy. I must admit, it was pretty addicting, I had to make myself stop playing around level 21.
I played the levels for ages twelve and up, and it started with a robot throwing trash out of bins and Lisa had to sort through the items. Trash went in the garbage can while old electronics when into another, teaching us that old iPads and batteries shouldn’t be thrown out like old apple cores. It quickly became apparent that safyKids is a collection of enticing mini games that really do teach valuable lessons. Some of these include: sharing public Wi-Fi can make your data available to others, you should only talk to people you know online, and one should alert the authorities if someone makes them uncomfortable. The bad guy in this game was a creepy old man smoking a cigar that lurked behind every corner, he definitely creeped me out. The only thing I could think to add was that bad guys don’t always look that way, sometimes they are the mailman or the neighbor. It’s important to drill in the fact that bad guys don’t have a particular look to them. Otherwise, I think safyKids covered most of their bases.
My favorite part about safyKids was a cute pinecone squirrel who saved me from the bad guy. I was reminded of the value of friendship and how having someone’s back is always important. Overall, safyKids is a fun and interactive way to teach children about internet safety. It also teaches about recycling and the proper way to handle electronics. In the end, I look forward to the full version of safyKids and to be honest, I’ll probably finish all the levels.
The safyKids beta can be found on Google Play.