29 Jul 2013
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Creating comics helps kids learn net basics

By Rebecca Wood

Teachers have a new weapon in the fight to teach cyber security with the development of the Comic Creator.

Produced by NetSafe, Comic Creator uses the characters from Net Basics, NetSafe’s award winning animated series for families promoting safety online and allows children to build their own comic strips using the professionally drawn characters.

The cartoons centre around the Jones family and their online experiences battling the bad guys – including scammers, cyber-bullies and viruses – and being protected by the good guys.

Sean Lyons, chief technology officer at NetSafe, says taking a story-based approach, centred around a family, to look at computer security provides a way to humanise what can be a dry subject.

“With the Comic Creator, students can extend the stories of the comic characters and examine other internet security ideas. It asks them to show us what they understand about internet security and allows them to build and tell their own story.”

Understanding cyber security is an important part of living life online, says Lyons. And even though it is a mystifying subject, it is essential students learn it at a young age.

“It is vital for young people because they learn a lot and take things on board much easier than we do as adults. Those deficits in security skills are things you can never make up so it is vital to get the knowledge in at an early age,” he says.

The tool has been written in HTML5 so that it can be accessed across all operating systems and doesn’t rely on any additional plug-ins.

“We wanted anyone to be able to use Comic Creator from any device, with no technological barriers,” says Lyons.

Go to www.learnthenetbasics.org.nz to log in to the Comic Creator.

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