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Beat computer game baddies and gain cyber wellness tips

Created by South Korean firm InfollutionZero, the project has been brought to Singapore by Dr Park Yuh Yun, who noticed the need to teach cyber wellness to the young before they form bad habits. -ST
Grace Chng

Thu, May 23, 2013
The Straits Times

Joon Joon is no ordinary nine- year-old.

He battles monsters and leaps in to protect a girl being targeted by cyber bullies - all using his superpowers.

The computer game character is the face of a programme that aims to teach students about Internet threats in a fun and interactive way.

Called the iZHero project, it is aimed at children aged nine to 13, and includes an online game, comic strip and exhibition that was opened yesterday at the Science Centre Singapore.

The programme centres on Joon Joon. Players lead the character into battle against monsters that try to pull him astray - for example, tempting him to play video games instead of doing homework. They learn values such as respect and moral courage along the way.

Created by South Korean firm InfollutionZero, the project has been brought to Singapore by Dr Park Yuh Yun, who noticed the need to teach cyber wellness to the young before they form bad habits.

The Korean researcher, who is director of academic projects at Nanyang Technological University, came up with iZHero in 2010 when she observed children as young as three going online in her home country.

"What they experience online will shape their world," she said. "We hope that through the game, they will learn to become responsible digital citizens."

Students are introduced to the project at the Science Centre exhibition and encouraged to go online (www.izhero.org) to play the game and read the comic strip.

Dr Park piloted the exhibition here in April with schools including North Spring Primary.

Pupil Balamurugan Padmavagi, 11, said she learnt how to avoid being tricked on the Net, adding: "One way to do this is not to give out personal information."

The exhibition was opened yesterday by Ms Sim Ann, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Communications and Information.

She said it was important for parents to be involved in their children's cyber wellness.

"Within the exhibition, educational information on cyber wellness for parents is available and provides opportunities for parents to learn alongside their children."

chngkeg@sph.com.sg


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