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Cyber Smart Kids

PITTSBURGH, PA (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- With countless Internet threats in cyberspace, it’s hard enough for adults to avoid dangers online, and possibly even harder for tech-savvy, yet curious kids. Now computer scientists have designed a game that teaches kids cyber security in a language that they can understand.

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Spyware, Spam, Pop-Ups, Malware. Do your kids know how to avoid them? At Carnegie Mellon University's Information Networking Institute, computer scientists have developed an online game for kids to show them how to be safe in cyber space.

“We want to promote safe computing with children before they’ve had the opportunity to develop risky behavior or bad habits,” Dena Haritos Tsamitis, a director at Carnegie Mellon University told Ivanhoe.

MySecureCyberspace is an interactive computer game. Players travel through the cyber academy-learning safety tips along the way.

“For each mission, there’s a faculty member who will instruct them about the important parts of the game," Haritos said.

Kids can transport their online characters into cyberspace where they see cyber threats first-hand, like a computer virus or a Trojan horse, that sneaks into your files. Saint Bede's Parochial School in Pittsburgh downloaded the MySecureCyberspace game. Students use the program as part of their computer science education.

“It did tell you how to create a strong password. Not one that hackers can hack easily," 6th grader, Sean said.

“Getting emails that have Spam, and if they have Spam you should never open them and read them," 6th grader, Andrew Klabnik said.

Educators say learning safety in a game format is very effective, especially for this age group.

“They’re so used to playing games on the game boys and all of the other hand held items that they have IPods, and everything they respond to that stimulus," Mary Drummond, Principal at Bede's Parochial School explained.

A virtual world with a real life payoff. The MySecureCyberspace game is available for free from the Carnegie Mellon University website. Carnegiecyber free classroom lesson plans and activities are also available on the website.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.-USA, contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Nancy Doyle
Manager of Director's Office and Administration
Carnegie Mellon University

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Pender McCarter


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