This tutorial introduces children, ages 7-9, to the concept of online privacy and teaches them to distinguish between information that is appropriate to give out and information better kept private – and to recognize how this may change in different contexts.
In the game children assemble a map leading to a pirate treasure (to introduce the idea that personal information has value). As they do this, they will be asked a variety of questions about privacy and personal information on the Internet. Correct choices will be rewarded with an additional piece of the map.
The game’s educational content is spread over two sections. In the Tutorial section, children are given direct instruction to guide them to correct choices. In the Free Play section, which is the largest portion of the game, children encounter similar situations but with less guidance so they can practice the skills they learned in the Tutorial. Both sections provide access to a “mentor” character who gives advice if requested, underlining the key skill of asking a trusted adult for help whenever a child is uncertain about the right choice.
It is strongly recommended that parents and teachers preview the unit. Young children may need assistance with the language and concepts of the unit. MediaSmarts has prepared the document Privacy Pirates: Background information for parents and teachers  to provide an overview of online privacy issues, as well as suggestions for playing the game with children and extension activities.
Privacy Pirates was made possible with funding from Google Canada.