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The Stranger: An interactive story about online grooming…

The Stranger is an interactive game meant to educate people about and safety. It was created by Tasia Collins.

Tasia Collins is a graduate alum from Purdue University. While in the program, she developed an educational game for children to demonstrate the importance of internet safety. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2021), 97% of children 3-18 have access to the internet. Most apps allow participants to chat and communicate with one another without filters and knowledge of who is actually on the other side. Therefore, the game is meant for children to experience the implications of Tim providing his online friend with his personal information in a fun, low-stakes way! Because of the significance of the game, the adult should be present as the child plays. In the Facilitation Guide, you can find debriefing questions meant to open the line of communication about any app or website the child uses in their time. 
For more information:
The Stranger An interactive story about online grooming
Want to play? The link is below.

The Stranger

Description: The Stranger models a scenario everyone in the technology age has gone through, chatting with strangers online. Online gameplay has its benefits, however, there are situations that are dangerous for many vulnerable groups. One of those groups is children. 

As kids are presented with technology at younger and younger ages, teaching them how to be as safe as possible on their devices is essential. Therefore, The Stranger allows the gamer to role-play as a character in the game that meets his online friend for the first time. Unknowingly, the person who shows up is not an online friend. Along the way, the learner will collect badges by correctly answering questions about their character. Afterward, the learner will know what information about the character is private information that leads to a complete stranger at their doorstep. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • When provided with multiple-choice options, the gamer will correctly answer the questions about their character to provide to the stranger. 
  • The learner will be able to identify that the stranger that shows up is not the stranger online. 

Facilitation Guide

How to use the game: The game is meant to spark an important conversation between children and trusted adults. Therefore, the game should be played first by the child. The adult facilitates learning by providing a safe space for the child to explore the game and help when needed. Once the child completes the game, the adult debriefs the scenario. Here are a few questions you can ask:

  • What information did Tim give away that is meant to be private between your/our family?
  • What could Tim have done differently that you will do if someone asks for private information?
  • How did you feel when the stranger showed up and it wasn't Annie? How do you think Tim would have felt?
  • What games or websites do you play that allow you to chat with other players? Let's look at those games together!
  • How can you be a change agent and spread this message to others? 
  • Do you have any questions about how to be safe on the internet?

Conclusion: Use this game as an opportunity to encourage an open environment for the child to express themselves and ask questions. One way to prevent children from feeling so comfortable with strangers online is cultivating a positive relationship with a trusted adult that makes them feel safe to be open without judgment. 

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Let's play The Stranger!

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Click here to launch The Stranger.

After you've played… let's get educated!

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