Sunday, June 22, 2008
Hackerteen as an educational tool on responsible Internet use
Last week, I received my copy of Hackerteen Volume 1 Internet Blackout comic book. It is a story of teenagers and inspired of the Hackerteen program - that trains talented teenagers and teach them skills to be used for good purposes. The story has the necessary components of conspiracy and feature Internet related crimes like identity theft, spyware installation, hacking, fraud, exploitation of talented teenagers, among others.
It is an interesting way of educating teenagers, parents, and educators alike on the potential and possible misuse of the Internet and computer technology.
However, seeing how my kids adore comics, manga, and anime, I partly felt that the comic book packaging felt too trying hard by insinuating that this is all about hacking and teenagers. For geeks, educators, and advocates, that may work. But for ordinary teenagers with sufficient Internet knowledge, it may not necessarily attract. For instance, I tried putting this comic book in the living room and only one of my teens browsed through it after I asked him to check it out.
But after watching the video above, I realized that this is really meant to be used as a compliment for a campaign or educational resource. It is not an entertainment material that kids or teens will pick up for its recreational value. And in that perspective, I think Hackerteen can be a useful material for educators and advocates to be given to students. Instead of speaking in pure geek terms, a story can be told while educating the target audience using Hackerteen as a resource. In that light, this project has a lot of potential and may set as an example for others.
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