Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Sending the Right Message: An Online Game Uses Real-Life Scenarios to Teach Teens the Ins and Outs of Safe, Responsible Cell Phone Use

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Sending the Right Message: An Online Game Uses Real-Life Scenarios to Teach Teens the Ins and Outs of Safe, Responsible Cell Phone Use

Article excerpt

EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT OF KIDS under age 17 in the US have cell phones, according to statistics from Web Wise Kids (www. webwisekids.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids stay safe online. But while those kids are using cell phones to gather information on the go and stay connected with family and friends, they're also using the devices for irresponsible and potentially dangerous activities.

According to Web Wise Kids, 53 percent of teens admit to sending hurtful messages over the internet or cell phones, and 51 percent of teens ages 16 and 17 use their cell phones while driving. The organization's statistics also indicate a large number of teen cell phone users participating in what's known as "sexting," with 20 percent of them revealing they have sent nude or seminude pictures of themselves to others, and 40 percent copping to sending sexually explicit messages.

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Those alarming numbers led Web Wise Kids to partner with the philanthropic division of the Entertainment Software Association, called the ESA Foundation (www.theesa.com/ foundation), virtual technology provider Will Interactive (www.willinteractive.com), and communications company Verizon (www22.verizon.com) to create It's Your Call, a new web-based game that's part of an online-safety education program aimed at giving middle school students the tools to make appropriate decisions about cell phone use.

It's Your Call is based on true stories, and allows teens to practice playing out difficult real-life scenarios in a safe, virtual environment. …

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