Today’s parents have a challenge no other generation has faced: New research from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) reports that Internet risks are affecting kids at increasingly younger ages. Cyber-bullying begins in the second grade; pirating illegal content, such as movies or music, begins in fourth grade.
To combat these growing risks, parents and educators are turning to the next generation in social networking where kids learn essentials of cyber-ethics and security in their favorite setting — a virtual world. WoogiWorld, identified by Parents Magazine as one of the top five next-generation sites for kids, has parents and kids alike flocking to this productive and entertaining new approach to education.
WoogiWorld’s unique approach succeeds through online and offline crossover where kids earn “WoogiWatts” (the currency of this virtual world) by completing important tasks in the real world. Children are encouraged to learn new hobbies, be active in their real-world communities, balance their screen-time, create clubs and be helpful in their homes.
For example, the Woogi Readers Club provides online versions of children’s classics (such as “Rikki Tikki Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling) along with chapter-oriented games. Kids level up as they “pass off” each chapter of the current month’s book. Membership requires completing Internet Basic Training, where they learn how to be safe in cyberspace.
WoogiWorld partners with the Smithsonian, Harvard, RIT, the Univeristy of Maryland and others to teach technology and media literacy integrated into core academic STEM topics (science, technology, engineering and math), along with reading, music, nutrition and health.
A 2008 National Cyber Security Alliance study reported that 75 percent of educators felt inadequate discussing cyber-bullying. As a result, WoogiWorld added modules compatible with federal and state educational curriculum and is fully equipped to provide schools with Internet safety curriculum mandated by the federal government.