EU Science Hub

Safe and happy online with Happy Onlife 2: a new game from the JRC

Happy Onlife game takes players on a journey through the internet.
The game takes players on a journey through the internet.
Feb 11 2020

This Safer Internet Day, the JRC launches "Happy Onlife 2" - a new and improved version of the popular game promoting online safety for young people.

Playable as a physical board game, on a web browser or through a mobile app, the game takes players on a journey through the internet.

To complete the game, players must successfully answer quiz questions designed to get them thinking about how to make the most of the opportunities of the internet while avoiding potential dangers.

The first edition of the game has already been downloaded over 9,000 times on Google Play and the App Store.

More than 3,000 copies of the physical game have been distributed to classrooms across Europe and beyond.

As well as improved graphics, HappyOnlife 2 adds a whole host of new categories, as well as questions related to WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and several other applications.

These platforms have grown in popularity since the launch of the first game, with a big impact on online habits and ways of communicating.

This brings with it new cybersecurity risks and implications for data protection.

Four new categories have been added to the game following player feedback: "Privacy matters!", "Is it fair!", "Don’t risk!" and "Social Life!", with a host of new questions exploring issues like managing our personal data, fake news and fair communication.

HappyOnlife 2 is available now for free download on Google Play.

You can also try the game now on the HappyOnlife website.

The iOS version will soon be available and a new physical game is being produced.

Email the team at happyonlife@ec.europa.eu to pre-order a free copy for your school.

The game source code is also available for developers.

Background

The internet touches every facet of our lives nowadays, transforming the way we connect with friends and offering countless opportunities to learn and stay up to date with the latest trends.

But it is not without its risks, which may not always be obvious at first – especially for digitally savvy young people who have lived most of their lives in an age where sharing information on the internet is second nature.

It can be challenging for parents and teachers to keep up with the online activities of the younger generation.

That’s where Happy Onlife comes in. By encouraging children to reflect on their online behaviour, the game opens a path for adults to actively guide children to be smart, responsible, and respectful when using digital technologies.

It can also help both adults and children to better understand the opportunities, skills, cyber security risks, data protection aspects and consequences behind the decisions they make online.

The HappyOnlife tollkit was first developed in 2015, with four quiz categories: "Stop online bullying!"; "Let’s chat!"; "Watch-Out!"; and "Playsafely".

With the rapidly changing online landscape, HappyOnlife 2 provides new, fresh content that keeps the game up-to-date and supports continuous learning and improved digital awareness for both children and adults.

The quiz questions were optimised through participatory research.

By playing the game with different groups of young people, the developers could measure the level of interest and fun, as well as how well the players felt that the questions matched possible real-life situations in children’s digital interactions.

The questions selected for the game are those shown to be relevant and understandable to the main target group of 8-12 year-olds.

Safer Internet Day is all about promoting safer and more responsible use of online technologies.

This year’s theme, "Together for a better internet", recognises the need to collaborate to create a better internet for all – and above all children.

HappyOnlife 2 is an innovative, fun and useful tool to help these efforts.