CyberCops / New Web Sites Encourage Students to Go Green

Article excerpt

The Ontario Provincial government is taking steps to better protect children from online predators by increasing funding for the CyberCops Internet safety program. The province has purchased a license to use the CyberCops software that was developed by LiveWire Designs Ltd. These computer programs challenge students to put themselves in the shoes of a police officer and solve a crime. Officers in the Ontario Provincial Police's Investigation Bureau took an active part in developing the software.

The Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA) has created a teacher resource package and training materials to help teachers integrate this material into the curriculum. The association is a provincial non-profit organization dedicated to supporting school communities through advocacy, quality programs and services. It places a strong emphasis on personal safety in the Ontario health and physical education curriculum.

Interactive CyberCops software is being used in classrooms for Grade 7 and 8 students and by police services across the province. Under the supervision of a teacher, students work in groups and play the computer games included in the software. Teachers will receive training so they can find the most effective ways of using the software in their classrooms. The interactive games help protect children by educating them about the methods stalkers and pedophiles use to lure victims on the Internet.

In 2006, teachers began using the CyberCops software called Mirror Image. This game revolves around a story about two young girls who are lured by an online stranger claiming to be a modeling agent. The second phase of CyberCops, AirDogs, is currently being developed and will appear online in addition to the Mirror Image game. AirDogs is based on real-life events and is focused on themes of cyber-theft, extortion and bullying. There are downloads available for teachers that include game guides and case studies relating to each of the Internet safety topics.

For more information about CyberCops or to access the online resources, visit http://www. …