Internet Safety and Gaming Meeting with NYC Mayor's Office

Hello Classroom 2.0 Community,

I just learned that I have a meeting with the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice tomorrow to collaborate on a video about internet safety and gaming. What are your thoughts on what the most important considerations for the video should be?

Tags: gaming, internet, safety

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Yikes! That's sort of an odd combination, don't you think? What message is the Office of Criminal Justice trying to send?

Anyway, on Internet safety, I think one of the most sensible people in this field is Nancy Willard.

My basic advice would be to concentrate on reality, and steer clear of scare tactics, such as equating lack of Internet safety with criminal behavior, or gaming with aberrant behavior. Teens tend to believe that scare tactics simply prove that adults "don't get it".

Love to hear how this meeting goes!
Good advice. I'm bringing along a colleague (The Techomnivore) who has a great handle on the anti-scare tactic mentality.

We've partnered with i-Safe which tends to get criticism at times in this area and I see Nancy (who you recommend above) identifies this on her blog in her My Review of I-Safe post.
When I reviewed different Internet safety/usage curriculum a few years ago, I came to a very similar conclusion. Right now I recommend CyberSmart! - a free K-12 curriculum that focus not just on safety, but manner, advertising, research, and other media literacy aspects. It's more well-rounded than most and in my opinion, more likely to work than scare tactics.

However, I have to say as the bottom line, kids DOING appropriate things on the web, guided by an adult who is actually watching and participating is best of all. There is just no worksheet that will make a kid safer (or smarter, for that matter).
Agree about the bottom line conclusion. Is there a cost associated with the CyberSmart! curriculum? How is it deployed in your district?
No, it's free online and you can print out all the materials.

I think they have a deal with a publisher that if you want a hard copy workbook, you can get it at cost.
Here is the plan is for the focus for the internet safety and gaming video:
• Online Gaming
• Sexual Predators
• Protecting Identity
• Cyber-Bullying
Any thoughts around what should be included and/or resources in each?
Hi Lisa - I know this is after the fact, but I just saw your post! Hopefully your meeting went well! I'm leading an effort for our organization that may be a little similar.

Who is the audience for the video? Is it meant for teachers, students or both?

Even if I'm too late to offer any help, I'd still be curious how things went.

- Dan
It's not too late. We're right in the midst of working on this. The audience is going to be students, but the video will be delivered by teachers to their students. It should be available online and in segments. You can take a look at what we're thinking so far here. Let me know your thoughts.
Very cool so far, I like it. It seems that you're definitely trying to gear it towards your audience. I'm leading up a project here where we're designing a serious game on the topic of workplace safety for teens. The constant struggle we had was with convincing the project sponsors/stakeholders that we're making the game for teens - not for adults. When it comes to gamers especially, you need to be very careful. If you come off as trying to "fake it" they'll catch on right away.

As far as your list of speakers, I teach video game design, part-time in the evenings. I've taken my students to visit Wideload Games [http://www.wideload.com/index.php]. They're a Chicago-based game design studio. Anyway, the founder of Wideload is Alex Seropian. Alex is one of the people who designed the original Halo and is kind of a popular name in the gaming world. He's also a really cool guy who does a lot with the community. If you're interested, I could pass along some contact information.

Also, if you're looking for student testimonies, there's a student I worked with at the college who you may want to talk to. He's a self-proclaimed reformed hacker who is a big online gamer. He teaches video game design at the college and also teaches some classes for high school students. He lives and breathes the online gaming lifestyle (and actually has quite a big following among many die-hard online gamers) but he's also a great kid and extremely professional, for a kid in his early 20's! (hopefully I'm not dating myself too much). Anyway, he might be able to give you some perspectives into the mind of the online gamer.

- Dan
Terrific, yes. Please share the contact info and brief bio of experts here (if you don't mind others having the info, or send to my email (lnielsen@schools.nyc.gov) and I'll pass the information along.

Thanks.
I hope you have looked at the report by the Pew Foundation that came out this month about Gaming in education. Very helpful research. Can be accessed at http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Teens_Games_and_Civics_Report_F...

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