Using serious games to educate children about cybercrime in the Netherlands

  • Awareness
  • 28/11/2019
  • Dutch Safer Internet Centre

In 2019, the Dutch Safer Internet Centre (SIC) has started a collaboration with Flavour, a non-profit organisation that engages with children on different key topics through gamification. One such topic is cybercrime – for this purpose, the Flavour team invented a game, called HackShield. 

In this game, children navigate through a digital world where they have to solve all kinds of problems, in order to access the next level. They receive information and have to answer questions on, for example, the dangers of using public Wi-Fi. The Dutch SIC was enthusiastic about the game because it is resonated really well with children's digital lives and the cybercrime dangers that they could encounter are very realistic. It teaches them without scaring them, instead empowering them and making them confident users of the online world. For more information about HackShield, you can visit flavour.nl/producten/hackshield (in Dutch).

Flavour offers organisations the opportunity to collaborate and start their own competition. This way, these organisations can promote a safer internet for children within their own network. It is quite motivating for children because they actually compete with the teams of other organisations. The Dutch SIC also started its own competition and reached out to many children and parents in its network. This also allowed the Dutch SIC to gain some recognition because the name and website are mentioned on the score page of HackShield, which has a lot of traffic.

The Dutch SIC also invited HackShield to their annual congress on Thursday, 14 November 2019. One of HackShield's first Cyber Agents, aged 11, asked attendees to give him their phones. When they did, the young Cyber Agent tried to hack their phone, which he succeeded at times. "How?", you ask? No tricks were used; the young boy simply held the phone in such a manner that he could often see traces of fingerprints. Many people loved this and were interested in making their children play this game.

The Dutch SIC is very excited about this collaboration and hopes to work together with Flavour as well on Safer Internet Day (SID) 2020. In the future, they would like to present more on HackShield at a conference. If other countries are interested in the resources offered by Flavour, the company might consider translating and localising them.

Find out more information about the work of the Dutch Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.


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