Worms, viruses, Trojan horses, and spyware: Beware! The National Science Center, or NSC, is now training kids to stay safe from cyber attack malware when they’re surfing the web or using email and cell phones. A new online game called Cyber Swarm Defenders is targeted to sixth- to eighth-grade students and is also appropriate for younger students.
The game is part of NSC’s newest Cyber Ops education outreach program. NSC is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Army and NSC, Inc., and uses its resources to stimulate and increase science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as STEM, proficiency in U.S. students, especially those in grades four through nine. “Anything we can do to make the young students of our country understand the cyber threat and get them excited about STEM technologies has a big payoff,” said Ron Ross, chairman of NSC. Cyber Swarm Defenders is deployed through the social networking site jabbersmack.com, which was built for children ages 13 and under. Kid-safe requirements are built in, including a parental control feature. This tower-defense strategy game integrates cyber security education and “learn to earn” mini-exercises. Students earn points, badges and game coins as they strengthen their defenses to advance through the game levels.
To access the game from the NSC website, go to www.nationalsciencecenter.org and click on the Cyber Swarm banner button. Or, go directly to www.jabbersmack.com/#/brands/view/VQYE. To play, participants must first register on jabbersmack, which is not accessible on some older versions of browsers.