BeSeen

Common Sense Media says

Simulated social network teaches savvy online sharing.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The simulation runs smoothly, and kids will quickly learn to navigate the game, despite the menus being a bit clunky. Kids can create a profile by selecting a cartoon image and typing in their interests and activities. Subsequently, all text is provided by the game in a multiple-choice format. While some of the choices are rather obvious, some are more nuanced. The game can run at normal speed or at double or triple speed. Playing more than once is generally necessary in order to win all the awards, but doing so requires creating a new profile and shows only minimal variation. A cipher game, where kids must select three out of six characters and put them in the correct order left to right, shows no variation in difficulty.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Several challenges reference sexual activity, such as kids discussing a topless photo circulating around school, but the photo is not shown. In the "protected from predator" challenge, kids can choose whether to share a photo of themselves in a somewhat scanty Halloween costume, which draws the attention of a new friend who asks for more "sexy photos" and suggests meeting for a date. (This is quickly shot down by the player's mom.)

Language

Some kids use negative language and consistently insult and bully one another, but swear words are not used, and this negative tone is discouraged by the game's challenges.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A photo shows kids drinking beer at a party, which later leads to trouble with one of the kid's college applications. The photo sharing is thus discouraged, but the drinking itself is not addressed.

Privacy & safety

Minor privacy concerns. Kids can post their progress and results in the game on Facebook, but this is optional.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that BeSeen is an innovative simulation of a high school's social network that teaches kids about being safe and responsible online. Players create a profile with a gender and class year, then progress through one year of school. Players read posts by other characters and choose from options to make status updates and respond to other characters. The choices revolve around social media challenges, such as sharing locations, photos, and gossip. Choosing the better option often is rewarded with a new friend or a award like "drinking drama diverted" or "sexting scandal salved." Missed opportunities for awards are also shown, and some situations show long-term, rather than immediate consequences. The player's mom is automatically added as a friend, and she occasionally provides feedback on the player's choices. The site deals with mature issues, such as child pornography laws, bullying, and sexual predators, but the photos and language are not explicit. Kids can share their progress on Facebook, but this is optional.

What kids can learn

Skills

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • self-awareness

Communication

  • friendship building
  • conveying messages effectively

Responsibility & Ethics

  • learning from consequences
  • making wise decisions
  • respect for others

Tech Skills

  • social media
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

BeSeen does a decent job of capturing the universe of high school, and the challenges are nuanced and require thoughtful interaction. Still, kids may feel put off by the clunky menus and cheesy language.

Learning Approach

The short-term and long-term impacts of online sharing get addressed, so kids can learn to make responsible choices in the moment. They get feedback and guidance both ways.

Support

The developer's Web Wise Kids website offers resources for parents and teachers, including a classroom guide with lesson plans, learning objectives, and discussion prompts.

 

What kids can learn

Skills

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • self-awareness

Communication

  • friendship building
  • conveying messages effectively

Responsibility & Ethics

  • learning from consequences
  • making wise decisions
  • respect for others

Tech Skills

  • social media
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn to make responsible choices about online sharing with this simulated social network. As they attempt to gain more friends in BeSeen, teens can learn ways to stand up to bullying, make wise decisions, protect their reputations, and be role models for their peers. The app covers a range of online safety concerns including privacy settings, photo sharing, posting location information, and inappropriate attention from strangers. BeSeen is a fun way for tweens and teens to learn how to be safe and responsible online.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Wilkey Oh

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

What's it about?

In this simulation of a social network, teens first choose an avatar and set up a profile with some basic information. Menu options include dashboard, profile, friends list, inbox, awards, and a game. On the dashboard, teens are prompted to interact with friends by updating their status, commenting on a friend's status, or responding to a message. Teens must choose between three options, each displaying a different degree of online safety and responsibility. Teens are rewarded with new friends and awards for making safe and responsible choices.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

BESEEN is an important app and admirable in many respects. The challenges about how to respond to a friend's post are often relatively nuanced, and the length of the simulation allows kids to understand the short- and long-term impacts of their choices. The simulation does a decent job of capturing the personalities and drama of high school, with diverse characters and interests. Still, kids may feel that the clunky menus and the cheesy language make this app seem childish and repetitive, particularly when playing the game more than once. A few terms are conflated, such as characters describing sexting as online sharing, which makes the app seem out of touch. This impression is reinforced by the unchallenging and tedious cipher game. Despite these small flaws, the app (with support from teachers and parents) has a lot of potential to teach kids about navigating tricky social media situations that face high schoolers.

Families can talk about...

  • Talk to your kids about cyberbullying. Help them understand ways to prevent it and protect themselves. See Stand Up to Cyberbullying for conversation starters and tips.

  • Discuss with your kids what's safe and what's not safe to post in online social networks, and why it's a good idea to set privacy settings to "friends only."

App details

Device:Android
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:December 15, 2011
Category:Education
Size:14.80 MB
Publisher:Web Wise Kids, Inc.
Version:1.2
Minimum software requirements:Android 2.2 and up

This review of BeSeen was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written bypokemonsuperfan27 January 2, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Great

This game is amazing. I know the primary focus is teaching safety but it plays great. The varying storylines are pretty cool but foes get repetitive. It seems a lot like the game surviving high game only on a social network. I will sit down and play a whole school year at once. Only A little language that most kids will be fine with. Overall great app
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass