Alex Wonder: New game helps kids fight cyberbullying

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    Alex Wonder

    Many cyberbullies are schoolmates. (Shutterstock photo)

    Alex Wonder Kid Cyberdetective is a new game introduced by WiredSafety.org designed to help children safely navigate the Internet. Children follow the adventures of Alex Wonder as he helps children learn to identify the warning signs of cyberbullying and learn how to responsibly use the Internet.

    “…The game teaches kids how to spot, avoid and address cyberbullying. So, they have to qualify as kid cyber detectives who help Alex, who works out of the janitor’s closet at the middle school, learn how to help other kids being cyber bullied,” explained Parry Aftab, Executive Director, WiredSafety, to CNN in an interview.

    “So, they have a 14-minute video where there’s a bully in the machine and the kids have to join together to help fight it off and then they have to learn about who cyberbullies, how they cyberbully and what you can do about it to qualify for the cyber detective agency,” he added.

    Alex Wonder to the rescue

    Alex Wonder

    The new cyberbully game teaches children how to identify cyberbully behaviors. (Shutterstock photo)

    According to Aftab, many children on the Internet will experience cyberbullying even if their parents have actively taken a role in teaching about the issue. Some children will even become cyberbullies themselves, often without realizing what they are doing.

    To help children understand the basics of Internet safety, Alex Wonder teaches them three critical steps: stop, block and tell.

    “There’s this lack of control, you’re not looking your victim in the eyes to know when you have gone too far. So, we need to teach our kids to stop, block and tell,” said Aftab. “Stop, don’t answer back. Block the personal message, or tell a trusted. And you need to be trustworthy when they come to you and not turn them off when the technology is supposed to be there.”

    Cyberbullying has become a serious issue as technology has advanced, and the National Crime Prevention Council explains cyberbulling can be through any form of social media: emails, text messages, social websites and so on. Most cyberbullies know their victims, and many are classmates or online acquaintances.

    “Both boys and girls sometimes bully online and just as in face-to-face bullying, tend to do so in different ways. Boys more commonly bully by sending messages of a sexual nature or by threatening to fight or hurt someone,” explains the National Crime Prevention Council. “Girls more often bully by spreading rumors and by sending messages that make fun of someone or exclude others.  They also tell secrets.”

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