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Parents' Guide to

The Carnegie Cyber Academy

By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Complete fun challenges, learn how to be safe online.

The Carnegie Cyber Academy Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this website.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

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 work deals with education and cognition. I checked it out myself and found it fun and engaging. But I wanted to get the kid perspective before recommending it to Girl Scout parents and teachers. The Carnegie Cyber Academy is targeted at 3rd-5th graders but may also appeal to kids a year or so on either end of that spectrum; at the age when they are just becoming aware of social media and have the cognitive skills to use it. My 6th grade daughter loved it (realizing that she was a little older than the target age but she was doing me a favor). She picked up a lot of good tips on internet safety that she needed to be aware of, in spite of thinking she knew it all. Most of all, she enjoyed the healthy, positive play environment. The cadets get to play the games, solve mysteries and cyber crimes, and catch cyber crooks. They earn credits that they can spend in the canteen to furnish their dorm room. This aspect, plus the world and characters created within the environment of the campus, is reminiscent of Penguin Club. My daughter was at the age where little penguin avatars and online parties with her friends were a big draw. Cyber Academy transitioned very well from there. The only two things to be aware of... (1) Depending on the level of your child, you may need to help them get it set up and oriented to the game. (2) My daughter was playing before all of the games were completed. On a couple of games she ran into a dead-end and got frustrated. I assume that has been addressed by now and all the games are complete. To summarize, I highly recommend this game for players grades 3-5. It's a fun, healthy, game that teaches self-confidence and internet safety. The games address safety issues that you and I are not likely to get across to newly self-sufficient minds. And it's all in an equal opportunity environment! Clearly , I loved it too. I only gave it 4 stars because it wasn't complete when my daughter used it. No, I don't work for Carnegie-Mellon. When a parent comes across something this good for your child, for free (!!!), it's hard not to love it. Teachers, please take note too. This would be great for your classroom.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

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.

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