The project addresses Internet safety issues with the aim to achieve an in-depth understanding regarding safety breaches and protective measures and actions, primarily within the school and family environment. For this purpose, an Online Virtual Game Environment was developed, supporting i) role-playing game scenarios, offered in real-time to ii) dynamic groups of online users, iii) exposed to (penalized) safety traps, which should be recognized and overcome through (accredited) appropriate game actions. Within the life of the project, such contextualized game scenarios were designed and developed at a pilot level simulating situations on the Web where the users (children/teachers/family members) developed skills in recognizing safety pitfalls and dealing with them. The use of the Internet is very popular among children from a very young age. Research available indicates that totally unsupervised Internet use by children may bear dangers for themselves and their family. Research efforts are currently being made to develop appropriate safety measures such as filtering technology. However it is clear that creating a “risk-free” Internet for children and youths seems an illusion and therefore it is necessary to concentrate on creating a “culture” about safe Internet use. At a European Level action has been taken for creating a safer Internet environment by promoting use of hotlines, filtering and rating systems as well as awareness-raising through the establishment of national awareness nodes in all EU countries. It is the intention of the project to build on the work already carried out at a national level, a) adding the European dimension through intercultural dialogue between parents, teachers and pupils from 9 European Countries –EL, CY, PT, RO, FI, HU, BG, IT, DE- who participated in game playing and in the online project community and b) the added value of actually bringing this venture into everyday school and family life.
Project Director: Dr. Yiannis Laouris