Lessons behind the Game
As a major online service provider, AT&T understands that safety is a serious issue for the youngsters who are now flocking to the Internet in droves. The company identifies three areas of concern:
- Security: AT&T urges consumers to install and maintain anti-virus software. The company offers software packages that also include firewall options for added protection of personal information.
- Privacy: As part of its push for privacy protection, AT&T emphasizes the importance of pop-up blockers, password protection and also a heightened sensitivity of when to share social security numbers. While the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act governs how businesses can market toward and interact with children, these rules usually do not apply when the youngsters are engaged in social networking.
- Safety: The safety aspect of its service is directed at children - kids or teens - who are using Internet access for browsing, social networking or other online functions.
Taking Safety to the Child’s Level
It is clear that this type of company pamphlet holds little interest for the third-grader who is busy exploring the online playground. To engage even the younger audiences, AT&T has developed “Safety Land.” The hero is Captain Broadband, who guides children playing this game through various interactions with Safety Land’s villains.
- Cyberbullying: With Captain Broadband at his side, the youngster needs to decide what to do if he receives a bad email or instant message. The game also covers chain emails.
- Hacking: Another question deals with questionable emails and whether or not to open attachments. In addition to warning kids not to open attachments, the cartoon also offers a solution, such as to tell an adult that an email was addressed to the youngster.
- Privacy protection: An additional aspect that the game addresses is the request for photos. A child learns that a seemingly innocent request for a photo may be anything but. The same holds true for a question about the child’s address, phone number or other identifiable information.
- Fielding meet up requests: The child recognizes that a friendly request for a meeting from an online friend is never to be followed up on with an actual appointment. Instead, the child must immediately inform a parent.
- Facing unwelcome images: In spite of copious filters, there is always a chance that a child may be exposed to something objectionable. Rather than fearing consequences from parents, the youngster must learn that it is imperative to alert mom or dad to the images. Part and parcel of this learning opportunity is also the building of a trust between parent and child, which the kid will not want to betray.
With respect to keeping youngsters safe, parents have the opportunity to partner with AT&T. Internet safety for kids takes numerous discussions and teachable moments, and the Safety Land application offers one such tool.