Internet safety is a growing concern for parents and educators. As children's lives become increasingly digital, so do the threats to their privacy, emotional well-being, and financial reputation. The Center for Identity uses technology in creative ways to educate children about identity and give them the tools they need to combat current and future identity threats. Our goal is to build a generation of children educated in best practices for identity management, protection, and security.
To help children understand identity threats, the Center for Identity developed Beat the Thief, an online game that helps children understand the value of managing personal information in a technological age. Beat the Thief draws on Center research and education principles to help children understand the value of their identity assets. In the game, children learn how to manage privacy settings, determine when it is safe to click a link or visit a website, know what personal information is not safe to share online, and understand the intended and unintended effects of communicating online.
The Center has also developed a 3-day classroom curriculum to support and enhance the learning objectives of Beat the Thief. Both the game and corresponding curriculum are designed for use in 3rd and 4th grade classrooms. They are designed for children who have some experience with computers and online activity, but have not yet begun exploring social media.
In addition to the skills learned by playing the game, the curriculum emphasizes—through class discussion and follow-up assignments—that students at this age should engage a responsible adult when using the Internet and sharing personal information.
Assignments and in-class exercises engage students in both writing and math exercises, and engage family members to extend social awareness about online safety.
Download the curriculum here.