One of the best sites around for families is Commonsense Media. I am always on their website reading app reviews or catching up with Caroline Knorr’s Q&A. Besides helping parents, Commonsense Media also works with schools. One of their popular school programs for grades 3-5 is the “Digital Passport for Kids” app. This summer, Commonsense Media, in partnership with Time Warner Media, is making this app available for free to everyone.
The Digital Passport for Kids app teaches kids about being responsible online. The app starts with an introduction on how to create strong passwords. After the intro, kids can choose from 5 different scenarios. Each scenario begins with a video that features a kid telling their story about a problem they had online and how they solved it. After the story, kids play a game that reinforces what they learned from the video. Kids can complete the scenarios in any order. When they finish all of them, they earn a Digital Passport to online safety.
Both my 3rd grader and 5th grader played with this app. Overall, they thought the videos were “OK”. The games were definitely the highlight. Both commented, “that the games were actually games and not hidden quizzes.” They wanted to play the games over and over. My 3rd grader’s favorite was Search Shark and my 5th grader’s favorite was Twalkers. These games are more than just fun. After playing each game, they both learned some important online lessons.
Search Shark (Searching)
“have to put in the right keywords so you don’t get bad search answers”
Share Jumper (Privacy)
“always read before you post something because if you read too fast and mess up you may post the wrong thing and there is no deleting it”
“it is hard to do two things at the same time”
“you can’t save alien dudes and text at the same time”
“it is fun to mix and mash to make your own thing but you still have to give the original person credit”
“not to be mean online”
“if you see bullying online, you should tell someone”
My 3rd grader gave it 5 stars and my 5th grader gave it 4 stars. Right now, they are squabbling over who gets to play it next. This app is available in iTunes and GooglePlay and is free until August 31, 2013. For more great apps that teach digital safety check out “Liven up your technology talk with apps and games that teach online safety“.