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Ultimate Celebrity Manager: The Fun Way To Learn About Online Identity Management And Safety

Author: Nicklaus Kruger

Young people need to learn to manage their online identity and safety across a variety of platforms. Ultimate Celebrity Manager is an entertaining, fun game for users aged 15-21 that helps them do just that - without invading users' privacy or security.

(Published - 16 September 2019)

The Western Cape Colab, as part of its national digital skills development mandate coordinated through NEMISA, has helped develop Ultimate Celebrity Manager, an innovative approach to teach youth to manage their online identity and safety (cyber security awareness).

“Digital Identity Management aims to educate society regarding their digital identity and cyber security,” explains Dr Leona Craffert, Director of the Western Cape CoLab for eInclusion and Social Innovation at UWC. “Individuals spend a substantial amount of time on digital platforms - on social media, search engines, online transactions and more - and thus need to be alert to the potential risks involved in their online activity.”

This educational game is an attempt to address a very important problem: How might we create an entertaining, fun game for users aged 15-21 that includes educational course content about Digital Identity Management, and is able to measure behaviour change using analytics without invading users' privacy or security?

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought forth a great deal of opportunities for individuals and industries alike,” Dr Craffert says. “But with the push for universal Internet access, the increasing use of social networks and a growing reliance on digital services, in conjunction with an expanding range of threats from criminals, cyber security and digital identity management is a growing concern for government and local citizens.”

An inclusive co-creation process was conducted between the CoLab team, government and third-sector stakeholders, local community youth representatives and Sea Monster (an award-winning Cape Town-based game design studio). 

This process has produced a mobile game concept fusing the casual appeal of virtual pet apps with the familiarity of social networks. It includes detective-style gameplay and simple puzzle-solving to promote fun while educating users around the subject of Digital Identity Management. Ultimate Celebrity Manager will run in real time, encouraging the user to keep playing over a longer period and to iterate on the core educational message of the experience.

The game was built upon current best practice and foundational principles of online identity management. That means ensuring that users realise the amount of control they should exercise when interacting online, the complexities of giving consent and ensuring disclosure only to justifiable parties, and ensuring minimal disclosure for constrained use of personally identifiable data.

“We applied the principles of “privacy-by-design” in creating the game,”Wouter Grove, researcher in the CoLab notes. “Through the game analytics we are able to gather insights on how players make decisions affecting their online safety, without having to ask users for personally identifiable information.” 

The game, which has specifically been designed not to use large amounts of data, is available on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. 

We would like to invite the UWC community to download, play and share it.

Download Ultimate Celebrity Manager at https://www.wcapecolab.org/downloadgame 
And to find out more, just email colab@uwc.ac.za or visit www.wcapecolab.org​​

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