This rainy spring break, we played lots of board games. There are so many great board games: Monopoly, Risk, Sorry, Scattergories… Regardless of age, everyone enjoys playing these games. I am always on the lookout for an online game we can all play together. In the digital world, it is tough to find a family game.
Most online games either appeal to really young kids or the over 13 crowd. The games that are safe for younger kids, my older children find boring. When I check out the older games and see the chat window and the questionable ads, I am just not comfortable letting my youngest on. Thankfully, I finally found a game that is safe and we all want to play – The Flying Alphabetinis.
The Flying Alphabetinis by Fingerprint is a social gaming app that everyone can play. My oldest best described it as Scramble with Friends for kids. I would describe it as digital Boggle. Family members and friends play against each other to see who can find the most words. Everything kids love about social games is still included. They can challenge each other and send messages in a safe (not boring) environment.
A few weeks ago, I got a chance to talk with Nancy MacIntyre the CEO of Fingerprint about designing games for the entire family. She acknowledged, “it’s a constant challenge from a game design perspective – providing a good play experience, but keeping it safe.”Fingerprint meets this challenge by first making a fun game. Then, they develop their games with the overriding principle of no personal data collected, ever. They also have help from over 50 moms, 200 kids, 400 hours of play testing, and 1500 families in Canada playing the game plus many, many hours with legal experts on COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). Continue reading →
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.
The good news, we both completed the basic programming lessons. The bad news, we did not get as far as planned. Both of us got bogged down with making loops. Our loops either ran on forever or stopped prematurely. We are not giving up. The summer of coding has simply become the year of coding.
Although we did not learn to code and build an app, we did design a game. Through a great connection, we discovered an easier way to build a game. Jumala, from Blade Games World, allows kids and parents to create their own game from the ground up without having to learn to code.