First published: 26th May 2011
"Through the Wild Web Woods" is an online internet safety game for children aged 7-10 produced by the Council of Europe. The game uses a simple maze and puzzle format to introduce online security concepts.
Concepts such as privacy, children's rights and awareness are introduced through well-known fairy tale characters, such as Snow White, and suffering children that can be helped by scrolls covering various rights of children. Mini-games and "websites" give practical examples of situations to be aware of, such as websites harvesting visitor's email addresses or strangers asking for personal information in chat rooms.
After completing all the levels of the maze, players can re-play the mini-games, and view information on useful organisations. If all the suffering children have been helped, there is a bonus game. The play is not too difficult, and the games are interesting for a few minutes. The information on rights is described in simple terms, but might still be too abstract for the intended audience. In one place, a dialogue popped up with the close button under the map icon, making it impossible to close the dialogue and proceed. The only workaround was to restart the level, and position the character slightly differently so that the dialogue appeared in a different location, without the close button obscured.
The Council of Europe has done well to produce this resource in a form that children can access. There is an online teaching guide to support the game.