Happy Onlife: Game and Toolkit to learn online safety
Happy Onlife has been created by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, it is a very popular peer and media edutainment toolkit promoting safe and responsible uses of ICT among adults and children. Happy Onlife opens a path to empower teachers and parents in actively guiding children to become smarter, responsible, and respectful when using digital technologies and help them understand opportunities, skills, risks and consequences behind the decisions they make online.
Children and young people are very active users of digital technology from an early age. Research shows that children learn quickly from mirroring the behaviour of parents, older siblings and peers. On one hand, children have acquired independency and skills within the digital world; on the other, they lack reflective and critical thinking as well as awareness about opportunities and risks such as cyber-bullying or digital identity theft. Active adult’s mediation would allow for the integration of values and critical thinking but so far, adults seem poor active mediators and in need of practical tools of empowerment.
Despite the wide range of offline and online resources and cyber-safety initiatives in the European Union, there is an urgent need for teaching aids in cybersecurity/online safety/data protection awareness, digital literacy and skill development to be brought to the attention of teachers, educators and parents as ‘ready-for-use’ resources. This is where Happy Onlife comes in, and the secret of its success is both the content and structure of the game and the many forms and ways you can play it: this is a fun game that can be played online, on the app (for iOS and Android) or downloaded and printed as a classic board game. So far more than 11.000 downloads have been made, and it is available in multiple languages. The game software is also available as an open source file that you can download and customise, creating your own game.
Are you ready to play at online safety with your kids?
Digital skills resource details
Happy Onlife is a game for children (aged between 8 and 12), parents and teachers, aimed at raising awareness of the risks and opportunities of internet and promoting the best online practices. The game is available in four versions: online, mobile, physical board game and as a do-it-yourself print and cut kit.
The game is inspired by the traditional Snakes and Ladders game (i.e. throw the dice to move your counter) combined with quiz questions. The questions focus on the use of internet, social networks, and online gaming, amongst others. They are designed to prompt discussion and allow the moderator to highlight how digital media can be enjoyed responsibly.