Are social media dangerous? Not if you know how to use them!

Junait – the test social network for kids

Whether it’s privacy settings, flagging unknown users or recognizing advertisements as “phishing”, Junait playfully makes kids aware of the dangers that come with using social networks. At the same time, players learn how to deal with these dangers, all while in a protected space.

Supported by Ein Netz für Kinder, the test social network Junait for kids between 8 and 12 is available for free at www.junait.de. In the space of 90 minutes, pupils learn to use the internet responsibly. They are prepared for using social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.) while playfully gaining media literacy.

In the game, the kids create a user account and add personal data to their profile. They then become friends with fellow pupils, use the chat function and publish posts. But something is wrong. Who are these strangers? Why are there messages containing viruses? And who is trying to sell my data? Mastering various exercises, the kids navigate the network at their own pace. Soon, the game takes on a dynamic of its own, and a fight for private data ensues. The exciting but child-friendly back-story was created in cooperation with Thomas Feibel, an author of children’s books.

The game can be played in a school computer room. Additional material can be used to accompany discussion in class. For teachers, preparation and supervision are easy and self-explanatory. No prior training or knowledge is required. Teachers can log in to monitor the pupils’ actions. Critical moments can be discussed with the kids during the evaluation phase following the game.

Facts + Figures

Target group

Children aged 8-12

Objectives
  • Understanding the logical structures of social networks
  • Considering pros and cons of digital self-portrayal
  • Cognitive distinction between online and offline Experience and communication
  • Learning how to handle digital dangers (privacy, being approached by strangers, cyber bullying)
Client(s)

Funding initiative “A network for Kids” carried by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and Federal Minister of Culture Monika Grütters

Project partner
Funding initiative “A network for Kids"
Objectives

Developing a testing social network for children aged eight to twelve

Project lifetime

January 2014 until January 2015

Number of participants

15-35

Location(s)

World Wide Web

Language(s)

German

Competencies

In the media