From a project thesis on cybersecurity to the beginning of a start-up…

My name is Gonçalo Fonseca and I'm going to recount the "little adventure" that myself and my university colleague, Inês Lopes, experienced last December at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2017, hosted by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

We are two 24-year-old students, from Beira Interior University, Covilhã, Portugal. Inês recently finished her Master's degree in Game Design and Development and I´m currently completing the final year of the same degree. The purpose of Inês degree project was to create a prototype of a game that could not only teach teenagers about cybersecurity, but that was also able to entertain them. The idea for this project was created in collaboration with Professor Yuliya Morenets, representative of Together against Cybercrime International, TaC.

The prototype conception and creation was well received and the idea of developing a full game based on the prototype started to emerge. It was at that stage that I became involved: to develop the full game, Inês needed someone to help and I was invited to participate. After the confirmation that we were ready to continue to the development of the full game, Professor Morenets invited us to get involved in the Youth IGF Movement.

The Youth IGF Movement was created in 2011 and aims to give an opportunity for equal multi-stakeholder participation in the building process of the Information Society to teenagers and young people from different countries of the world. Find out more about youth IGF initiatives on the Internet Governance Forum website.

The IGF itself is a forum for multi-stakeholder dialogue on public policy issues related to key elements of internet governance issues. The IGF dedicated attention to youth movements and, there, we had the opportunity to speak with government-related representatives from countries from all around the world, along with representatives of the European Parliament, about our concerns on today's internet issues.

In-between taking charge of the Youth IGF booth and the forum sessions, we were able to present our project idea to some influential people, who praised the game. We learned that the objective of this project, teaching cybersecurity habits to teenagers, is more needed than ever.

Our goal is to create a startup for video game development and, with it, complete the game conceived for this project and allow teenagers from all over the world to play and learn from it. We are both of the opinion that, no matter what the costs are, we should run after our dreams. Our dream is to create games that allow players to gain knowledge while having fun, through our own startup!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Better Internet for Kids Portal, European Schoolnet, the European Commission or any related organisations or parties.

Image:
From left to right: our colleague from the Youth IGF Movement, Stelios (from Greece), Inês, our colleague Mahamat (from Chad), me and Nigel Hickson, ICANN's Vice President for Europe, at the Youth IGF booth.

 


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