The Carnegie Cyber Academy

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
The Carnegie Cyber Academy Website Poster Image
Complete fun challenges, learn how to be safe online.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn key online safety practices, including how to recognize spam subject lines, dangerous pop-up ads, sketchy chat comments, and cyberbullies. They're given detailed instructions on both identifying and dealing with potentially unsafe online elements; then they're able to play games and test what they've learned. While kids can review tips as often as they'd like, specific feedback (What makes this ad spam?) would help them build even stronger safety skills. Rules and understanding about online safety will stick with kids even after the fun and games are over.

Positive Messages

The academy offers tips, which emphasize respecting others and avoiding negative people and content, to help kids safely use the Internet and email.

Violence

One activity helps kids identify sketchy content on Web site homepages, including references to violence and gore.

Sex
Language

Kids answer characters' questions by choosing from pre-determined responses.
 

Consumerism

The game is ad-free.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids need to download the game to their computer, which takes about 15 minutes on a PC or Mac with a DSL connection. Playing the game teaches them some basic ways to stay safe online by identifying spam emails, ads they shouldn't click on, and chat comments they probably shouldn't respond to.
 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byg. carr July 9, 2015

My daughter loved this.

About six years ago, when my daughter was in 6th grade, I asked her to check this out for me. Besides being a parent, I'm a Girl Scout Volunteer and my wo... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old November 4, 2012
Written byAnonymous July 6, 2018

decent, but outdated

it's an old game, but it has some good information. if you can't play it due to your computer type, there's gameplay videos on youtube.

What's it about?

After downloading the CARNEGIE CYBER ACADEMY game, kids can talk to characters and complete brief challenges to learn about cyber safety and earn gold badges. Each activity comes with a brief lesson about spam email, questionable pop-up ads, and other online safety topics. Kids can always review the information again if they need to and can repeat a game if they don't score high enough for a badge. The site is easy to navigate, and there's plenty to do. Kudos to the Cyber Academy for offering valuable information in a fun, engaging format.

Is it any good?

Created by the Information Networking Institute (INI) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the CARNEGIE CYBER ACADEMY teaches kids about email and Internet safety by challenging them to complete a series of tasks. After downloading the game to their desktop, kids zip around different areas of the academy, asking characters questions and helping them find missing items. The game activities are preceded by a brief lesson. To practice identifying spam, kids choose which emails should be trashed based on their subject line; cadets also learn to keep chat rooms safe by tossing strangers who ask for personal information. The ratio of information and activities is just right -- kids will have fun learning valuable online safety tips, and because the site includes detailed instructions for each challenge, they should be able to find their way around the academy fairly easily.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how kids can stay safe on the Internet. The site offers tips on recognizing spam and keeping your personal information private. Review the major concepts discussed and ask kids: What kind of information should you never post in a profile or share with someone when chatting online?

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  • Users can talk with characters in the game, but they can't type responses; instead, you choose from a few pre-written answers to tell the characters how you feel. Why would that be safer than being able to say whatever you want? What kind of information could that type of system prevent you from sharing?

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  • How much time should you spend playing in a virtual world like the Cyber Academy -- instead of the real world? Talk about what your family feels is an appropriate amount of time to spend online every day, and read our article on setting time limits that stick.

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Website details

For kids who love games that teach

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