Cybercitizen Challenge

For Sparks For Brownies For Guides For Pathfinders For Rangers

The Cybercitizen Challenge has been developed by MediaSmarts, a non-profit education organization that has been pioneering media and Web literacy programs in Canada since 1996. MediaSmarts’ work is based on the belief that to be literate in the world today—to be able to "read" the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us daily—young people need critical thinking skills. This is especially true when it comes to the Internet.

Once these activities are completed, the girls are eligible for the Cybercitizen/Cybercitoyenne Challenge crest. You can purchase your crests at your local guide store or on-line at www.thegirlguidestore.ca.

About the challenge

The goal of the Cybercitizen Challenge is to help girls, at all levels of guiding, to be informed and responsible citizens of cyberspace. In particular, the challenge addresses five main issues girls and young women may encounter online:

  • Safety: girls are made aware of how certain activities and behaviours may endanger their safety
  • Privacy: girls learn what may become of personal information they post online, and how to protect their privacy
  • Marketing: girls learn about the techniques marketers use to target young people
  • Authentication of online information: girls are provided with practical methods for telling if online information is true or not
  • Ethics: girls reflect on the ethical aspects of their online activities— from cyber bullying to posting pictures

In general, each challenge activity addresses one of the five main issues, while the online educational games that we link to—Privacy Playground and CyberSense and Nonsense - cover a range of topics.  Background information is available for Guiders to help familiarize themseles with the issues that girls may be experiencing by clicking the link below:

Many of the activities require computers with Internet connections, while others can be completed without a computer. (In the table below, activities that require a computer are marked with an asterisk*.) If your meeting venue doesn’t have Internet-connected computers available, we encourage you to contact your neighborourhood library or school and ask if they could to host the activity. Keep in mind that school computer firewalls may restrict you from accessing some of the commercial Web sites that are used in the activities.

Finally, especially for younger girls, you may need to pair good readers with weaker readers, as many of the activities require reading skills.

Download the Cybercitizen Challenge Introduction Package.

Activities at a glance

To complete this challenge and earn a Cybercitizen crest, complete at least two activities for your branch of Guiding. 

Activities requiring a computer are marked with an asterisk*.

Sparks

Sparks must complete at least 2 of these activities to successfully complete the challenge.

  1. CyberSense Poem:
    This poem provides girls with clear rules on what to do on the Internet when asked to give out their name. (Privacy and safety)
  2. Masks and Avatars:
    Through the making of a mask, girls are introduced to the notion of identity in the Internet. Avatars –those characters you can create and play with in on sites such as Club Penguin – are lots of fun, but they can also complicate online relationships because of the “identity layers” they add. (Online ethics)
  3. Co-Co Crunch*(Marketing):
    In this online educational game, a friendly cereal box named Co-Co asks for help in designing a Web site that will attract kids. As girls develop the perfect Web environment for Co-co, they learn how advertisers target kids online and how to recognize online marketing techniques. (Marketing)

Because it is unlikely that girls at this age would be researching projects online, there is no authentication of online information activity at the Sparks level.

Brownies

Brownies must complete at least 2 of these activities to successfully complete the challenge. The activities should look at two different topic areas.

  1. Privacy Pirates: An Interactive Unit on Online Privacy*:
    This activity introduces the concept of online privacy and teaches how 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. (Safety, marketing and privacy.)
  2. CyberSense Poem:
    This poem provides girls with clear rules on what to do on the Internet when asked to give out personal information. (Privacy and safety)
  3. Masks and Avatars:
    Through the making of a mask, girls are introduced to the notion of identity in the Internet. Avatars –those characters you can create and play with in on sites such as Club Penguin – are lots of fun, but they can also complicate online relationships because of the “identity layers” they add. (Online ethics)
  4. It’s a Dog’s Life (Ethics):
    Through the story of a computer-savvy dog, girls are given the opportunity to develop an ethical approach to online communications. (Ethics)
  5. Co-Co’s AdverSmarts*
    In this online educational game, a friendly cereal box named Co-Co asks for help in designing a Web site that will attract kids. As girls develop the perfect Web environment for Co-co, they learn how advertisers target kids online and how to recognize online marketing techniques used in "advergames" and other immersive Web environments. (Marketing)
  6. CyberSense and Nonsense: The Second Adventure of the Three CyberPigs*:
    In this adventure, the CyberPigs explore the world of chat rooms and learn to distinguish between fact and fiction, and to detect bias and harmful stereotyping in online content. (Ethics and authentication of online information.)
  7. Site Digging:
    Using pictures of Web pages about the swift fox, Brownies learn about the importance of asking “Who posted this information?” and “What kind of information is this?” when conducting online research. (Authentication of online information)

Guides

Guides must complete at least 2 of these activities to successfully complete the Challenge. The activities should look at two different topic areas.

  1. Privacy Pirates: An Interactive Unit on Online Privacy*:
    This activity introduces the concept of online privacy and teaches how 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. (Safety, marketing and privacy.)
  2. It’s a Dog’s Life:
    Through the story of a computer-savvy dog, girls are given the opportunity to develop an ethical approach to online communications. (Ethics)
  3. Site Digging: 
    Using pictures of Web pages about the swift fox, Guides learn about the importance of asking “Who posted this information?” and “What kind of information is this?” when conducting online research. (Authentication of online information)
  4. CyberSense and Nonsense: The Second Adventure of the Three CyberPigs*:
    In this adventure, the CyberPigs explore the world of chat rooms and learn to distinguish between fact and fiction, and to detect bias and harmful stereotyping in online content. (Ethics and authentication of online information)
  5. Top Secret!*
    This interactive narrated tutorial teaches students about the benefits and drawbacks of sharing information online. Students give their opinion about what the characters in the story should do about their privacy dilemmas, from posting photos to buying music online, and they receive feedback on their responses as the story unfolds. (Privacy and ethics)

Pathfinders

Pathfinders must complete at least 2 of these activities to successfully complete the Challenge. The activities should look at three different topic areas.

  1. Photos Galore:
    In this activity, girls take photos of each other using a cell phone, and discuss how sharing images, through cell phones or Internet postings, might compromise their privacy and safety and that of their friends. (Ethics and privacy)
  2. The Money Trail*:
    This activity takes girls to marketing Web sites, where they look for online marketing gimmicks. In doing so, they learn about the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which marketers engage young people with their products on the Internet. (Marketing)
  3. Fact of Folly*?
    This activity helps to raise awareness about the importance of double-checking what you find when surfing the Internet and provides strategies for telling if online information is true. (Authenticating online information)
  4. Top Secret!*
    This interactive narrated tutorial teaches students about the benefits and drawbacks of sharing information online. Students give their opinion about what the characters in the story should do about their privacy dilemmas, from posting photos to buying music online, and they receive feedback on their responses as the story unfolds. (Privacy and ethics)

Rangers

Rangers must complete at least 2 of these activities to successfully complete the Challenge.  The activities should look at three different topic areas.

  1. Privacy Pitfalls:
    In this activity, Rangers will be looking at the ways that commercial Web sites collect personal information from kids and what makes a responsible privacy policy. (Privacy)
  2. Photos Galore:
    In this activity, girls take photos of each other with a cell phone, and discuss how sharing images, through cell phones or Internet postings, might compromise their privacy and that of their friends. (Ethics and privacy)
  3. The Money Trail*:
    This activity takes girls to marketing Web sites, where they look for online marketing gimmicks. In doing so, they learn about the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which marketers engage young people with their products on the Internet. (Marketing)
  4. Fact of Folly*?:
    This activity helps to raise awareness about the importance of double-checking what you find when surfing the Internet and provides strategies for telling if online information is true. (Authenticating online information)
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