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FTC's Game Teaches Social Networking Skills 76

Posted by kdawson
from the just-say-no dept.
narramissic writes, "Your tax dollars at work. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has launched an online quiz-show style game called Buddy Builder to test young users' abilities to spot potential threats on social networking Web sites. Naturally, the teen audience this is intended to reach is not going to go near the game except as a joke."
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FTC's Game Teaches Social Networking Skills

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  • In the game, players move through rounds by correctly reacting to common requests found on social networking sites.
    I just keep hearing that little 'bit' in Tron going NO, NO, NO, NO.........
    • That's funny. In my head I hear Parson's kid saying "You're a thought-criminal" over and over.
      watch this [google.com] Start at 1 hour 31 minutes. (or not)
    • by DiEx-15 (959602)
      I think he derezed himself when he found out he was going to be on that Game Grid.

      ---------
      "I keep telling myself 'It is only a game' but it still isn't fun!"
  • by jcarkeys (925469) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @07:05PM (#16666021) Homepage
    It might not be good at all, but someone needs to teach kids about the threats and hazards of social networking sites. It might seem cheesy, but at least we're getting people working on solutions to help teach children.
    • I'm with you jcarkeys. Yeah, a lot of kids would see this as a joke, but I wouldn't reject the thing out of hand. Their heart is in the right place. At least it's not some quixotic attempt to get teens to commit themselves to abstinence, that's what the administration usually likes to waste money on.
      • Yeah, trying to teach people to act in opposition to a biological imperative is totally insane. It's like telling them that they should stop breathing in order to avoid catching tuberculosis..

        Back on topic: I wonder if they might consider doing the same kind of thing for my parents' generation to help them spot phishing attacks and deal with pop-ups.
        • by jcarkeys (925469)
          From below http://onguardonline.gov/quiz/index.html [onguardonline.gov]
        • by mandie (69148)
          There is, and it's actually pretty good for most non-savvy, authority-trusting adults. When I go back to Texas for Christmas, I'm going to have my mom play it and have her tell all her friends who like to forward stupid crap. She's pretty good about deleting just about any forward (they annoy her) and asking forward-happy friends to please just send her personal emails. She is also paranoid about any sort of financial transaction online - except for sending me her credit card details PLAINTEXT to my Gmail a
      • Who cares that they do see it as a joke? IMO that would be almost as effective anyway. No such thing as bad publicity. In a lot of ways, if a kid picks it up and plays it as a joke and derides it, at the same time he's subconsciously picking up the awareness that there's dodgey people on the 'net.

        People make jokes about serious and bad things, murder, injury, kidney-bathtub-ice abductions. But at the same time there's a serious undertone that you pick up on. How many jokes were made about, say, being
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lawpoop (604919)
      This mentality reminds me of a sig I saw somewhere:

      Public: "Something must be done!"

      Politician: "This is something; therefore, it must be done!"

      Doing something, anything, even if it's bad, is a bad idea. I think Americans suffer from a hysteria of action -- if there is a problem, we must act, immediately, screw the consequences! Any problem we encounter in any facet of our life is a result of someone not doing their job or something not working right, and it must be fixed immediately.

      Sometimes you ha
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I think you are wrong. It is more like:

        Public: "Something is happening!"
        Politician: "Everything must be done!"

        Cue the Bear Patrol.
    • by mrbooze (49713)
      So who taught us? Chat rooms and message boards aren't exactly new.
    • Oh My God! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xQx (5744)
      My god?! Did anyone actually play that game??!! It was boring and crap! I've sat through Occupational Health and Safety lectures that were more fun and exciting than that.

      The only thing that's good for is so the grade three students can have some "educational time on the internet" and play with the computers..

      Really, I feel dumber having played that game -- seriously it says someone saying "hey baby - you look hot :) wanna chat?" is a threat?? That's never a threat, that's someone who's just found out they
  • Damn FTC - always ruining people's day. Here was me thinking xx_Sexy_Girl_99_xx was really interested in me, now I wonder why she always wanted my address.
  • Is this intended to be a warning for children?

    It's more likely to be a how-to for perverts and pedophiles than anything else since children won't go near it.
  • you misspelt "shills"
  • The game (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @07:10PM (#16666083) Homepage
    You'd think there'd be a link in the submission, but that's because you're new to slashdot.

    Buddy Builder can be found here: http://onguardonline.gov/quiz/index.html [onguardonline.gov]
    But whatever magic is needed to play, I don't have because it just pops up a blank window. Damn, now I'll never learn how to keep myself safe while having fun doing it!

    Anyway, all I know from TFA is that this question: "Accept or Deny: Wazzup? I think I know U send me your pic (in swimsuit, pls!)?" was blatantly and may I add illegally ripped from my IM session. The worst part was that "partygrrl666", aka "Bert the middle aged FTC agent", did send me a pic of himself in a swimsuit. Okay, you got me twice now Bert!
    • by jfengel (409917)
      The required juju is Flash.

      Ten seconds of play-time and it's pretty damn weak. It spends a good deal of time in miscellaneous flash-intro-junk before turning into a quiz.

      The first question was, "I just moved to the area, and think you're really good looking. R U dating anyone?" For which it dinged me for accepting the IM. Hey, letting them know my dating status is not doing anybody any harm. Sure, I'd be dubious about giving any actual data about myself after that, but the question itself is not a prob
    • by Saikik (1018772)
      Why do these and other PSA's always seem 20 years behind the times as far as what is cool?

      The intro to this 'game' reminded me of being a kid and watching reruns of the Brady Bunch on nick-at-nite
    • by xkr (786629)
      Was the swimsuit branded? Because if it is a Nike or Speedo, or any other brand, then the FTC will have to delete without notice your account due to the violation of the IP those brand holders.
    • Hilarious
    • by Alsee (515537)
      The worst part was that "partygrrl666", aka "Bert the middle aged FTC agent", did send me a pic of himself in a swimsuit.

      Linky linky. [nickscipio.com]

      -
    • by syousef (465911)
      But whatever magic is needed to play, I don't have because it just pops up a blank window.

      Pity you didn't say black window....It is dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
  • by Bizzeh (851225)
    teaching social networking to someone who is sat at home on their own on a pc..
  • Buddy Builder [onguardonline.gov]
  • They should be incorporating online safety into technology courses in schools, not making game-show parodies to teach kids about the dangers of the Internet. The fact that they make it a game says a lot about how serious they are about tackling this issue properly...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AP2k (991160)
      I think teaching a course of critical thinking skills would do kids far more than teaching them heuristics of bad things on the webbernet. You know, the "teaching a man to fish" thing.

      Then again a great portion of graduates cant add 1 and 1, much less spell the equation in English...
      • by tehcyder (746570)
        Then again a great portion of graduates cant add 1 and 1, much less spell the equation in English...
        Really? I want to come and study in whatever country you live in, I could get another couple of degrees easily.
    • by Moofie (22272)
      Yeah, because everybody takes everything they learn at school very, very seriously. Like when the gym coach was teaching Health class. Riveted, I was. Hanging on his every mispronounced word.
      • by xQx (5744)
        lol!
        If I had mod points I'd mod you up. That reminds me of almost every bloody subject -- but I did go to a public school in the country.
    • It's a small, simple game. It's actually noy as stupid as I was anticipating. The site also has games about identity theft and phishing, among others. Not everyone takes technology courses at school. Besides, mandating a new curriculum and either making states pay or using our tax dollars to pay is better how, exactly? Anyone can use these games. I, for one am glad that the government is spending what is no doubt a tiny fraction of our tax dollars on something which may actually help. Games are more accessi
  • It's kinda funny - if you simply deny all the samples which use bad grammar and spelling, you'll get all but one right. And the one you get wrong is some guy you supposedly haven't seen for three years. All I can say is that if he can't bother putting in the effort to spell "you" and "are" out completely, he doesn't get on the friend list.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      It's kinda funny - if you simply deny all the samples which use bad grammar and spelling, you'll get all but one right. And the one you get wrong is some guy you supposedly haven't seen for three years. All I can say is that if he can't bother putting in the effort to spell "you" and "are" out completely, he doesn't get on the friend list.

      I'm not sure that children/teenagers have the same keenly developed nose for bad grammar and spelling. In fact, they'd probably be *more* suspicious of an IM with prop

  • As a teenager myself, I have to say there is little to no point in making these quizzes. How many people will go to that site who are not already computer savvy and so probably know more than the quizzes teach? I was able to easily get every answer right without trying, and could think of ways to rephrase questions to make them better. I realize people have to try to teach kids, but a poorly designed quiz on a government site is not the best way.
    • by kbielefe (606566)
      I know it's hard to see how someone could be näive enough to fall for something as overt as in the quiz, but it happens all the time or it wouldn't be such a big problem. My daughter is only two, but when the time comes a quiz like this will make a great tool as part of a discussion with her.
  • Naturally the teen audience is intelligent enough already to spot someone that is going to rape them. This is intended towards children.
  • (not too difficult), I think this was a good effort. A lot of kids or even adults do not have the required know-how about this. Personally I don't care too much [if people can identify me] but with what some people are posting they certainly should.
    • by rHBa (976986)
      I failed the test :-( I don't have an Uncle John or an Aunt Mary so I clicked deny, I've also already got my swimsuit pics posted so I assumed the guy who asked me to send them was using Lynx and I clicked accept. Also there IS such an animal as a wombat...
  • At least the game said I did well enough to get on the Buddy All Stars list.

    Of course, it didn't say how I would get on that list. Maybe they have a signup page where I can enter my name, address, social security number and a picture of myself in the bathtub. Oh, here it is [myspace.com].
    • by Q-Branch (554342)
      I'm a Buddy All Star too! (do you want to add me to your friends list?) I made the All Star team by accepting anybody who could spell more or less correctly.
  • Look at the p2p section. It clearly was written by someone that has a clue. Their tips are: limit upload, be careful what your sharing and run antivirus. Those are the same basic tips that I would recomend to people using p2p. They don't seem to be doing any shilling for the *IAA's and the site is actually well layed out.

    I could actually see it being a well rounded faq on common internet technologies for any age group. Just because its from the FCC doesnt mean its bad automatically. It does look like they d
    • by stud9920 (236753)
      They're the FTC (Trade), they are the ones that should protect the citizens from monopolies like the ??AA
    • Just because its from the FCC doesnt mean its bad automatically.
      Acutally, yes - if it had come from the Federal Communications Commission that would have automatically made it evil. But it came from the Federal Trade Commission, so I guess that's neutral.
  • ...put my brain into "simulate teenager mode". My attention span ran out before the "Buddy Builder" splash screen had finished appearing. Sometimes I wonder if the people who make these kinds of things have any contact with teens.
    • by borkus (179118)
      I think the music came from a film strip from when I was in high school.

      Yeah, that's right, I said "film strip". Maybe next time, they should use more current music like Ace Of Base or Hootie and the Blowfish.
      • The sound effects remind me of (bad) computer games from the 80s. And the whole grid of faces reminded me of the Brady Bunch. On the other hand, Boards of Canada use music from educational film strips and I like them.
  • The questions on the quiz were pretty reasonable. However, I know plenty of adults who probably wouldn't pass. I find that there's a divide...around the age of 30 right now...between people who use social networking sites and those who don't. That means that there's a considerable need to educate parents, not just kids.

    Based on the occasional hysteria over MySpace, many adults either assume that merely being on MySpace makes you a target for predators or on the other hand that kids implicitly know how to

  • This is all sound advice, but ultimately, better social networking software would go a long way towards privacy on the internet. MySpace is probably the worst, with basically only two options (private or public profile), and very little granular control. Livejournal has gotten better with friends filters, but for a while there, once someone was on your friends list, they had access to basically everything. I've heard facebook, with their StalkerHelper 2.0 additions can be considered one of the worst. I
    • by neminem (561346)
      Uh... livejournal does that...? I'm generally too lazy to do anything more specific than occasionally locking, but I did once make a filter entitled "everyone except one person", just because there was something that one person wasn't supposed to see. I know people, though, who basically keep like 5 different blogs running on the same lj.
  • From the summary: (my own emphasis added in bold)
    Naturally, the teen audience this is intended to reach is not going to go near the game except as a joke.
    All of you might not realize it, but more teens will see this then you think. Of course, they won't be doing it for fun, but it will probably at least make them think twice when they're talking online to someone that they don't know.
  • by arvindn (542080)
    Clearly, the FTC did something with a sincere intent, but /. can think of no way to present it except cynically. Is it surprising that techies have so little lobbying power and are not taken seriously by the mainstream?
  • A far more effective ad would be one which shows a potential employer giving a high school student/recent graduate a job interview. After the interview is over, cut to him doing a Google search for the applicant's name, and him going to the MySpace website. Then cut to him throwing his resume i the trash.

    Seriously, I really fear for these kids putting so much of their lives online. They're going to regret it in 3-5 years when they graduate and find out they can't get a decent job because everyone knows all
  • http://onguardonline.gov/quiz/socialnetworking_qui z.html [onguardonline.gov] Direct link to the game.
  • What we need to teach kids is how to ask questions only other kids know in order to verify the age of the person they're talking to. We should rely on the fact that the next generation will be smarter then us...questions like, "how do you program a set top box?" would eliminate most adults but I'm sure there are better ones:)
  • Some of the questions are rather biased, what's wrong with giving someone your first name? I had to answer a fair few 'wrongly' to finish the game
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Some of the questions are rather biased, what's wrong with giving someone your first name?

      That is quite naive.

      An online stalker/pedophile or whatever slowly harvests as much information as possible, piece by piece, starting out with something apparently harmless (e.g. what are your pets' names? what's your favourite band?) until without realising it, their potential victim has revealed enough for them to be tracked down in real life. There's not really one single thing that it is wrong to reveal onli

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