EU Science Hub

Happy Onlife - play to learn about online safety

What is Happy Onlife?

Happy Onlife is a game for children (aged between 8 and 12), parents and teachers, aimed at raising awareness of the risks and opportunities of internet and promoting the best online practices. The game is available in four versions: online, mobile, physical board game and as a do-it-yourself print and cut kit.

The game is inspired by the traditional Snakes and Ladders game (i.e. throw the dice to move your counter) combined with quiz questions. The questions focus on the use of internet, social networks, and online gaming, amongst others. They are designed to prompt discussion and allow the moderator to highlight how digital media can be enjoyed responsibly.

By playing Happy Onlife, children and adults can:

  • reflect and build expertise together in internet safety and best practices for use and mediation
  • become digitally-aware citizens who have learnt to assess online risks and opportunities
  • use the open source code to make their own version of the game.

Take a look at Happy Onlife in action to see photos of the game

Happy Onlife online version

The online application is built on Unity 3D and the Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Opera browsers are all recommended for the best user experience. The game can be played in Dutch, French, English, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Greek and Georgian.

Happy Onlife mobile version

The mobile application is available in Dutch, French, English, Italian and Spanish and can be downloaded from:

The mobile application is available in Dutch, French, English, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Greek and Georgian and can be downloaded from:

Happy Onlife board game

Schools can also request the boxed board game (only in Italian) by writing to jrc-happyonlife@ec.europa.eu while stocks last.

Happy Onlife do-it-yourself print and cut kit

A full paper version of Happy Onlife, available in English and Italian, can be downloaded for free. Just print it, cut out the cards and play!

Customise your own game

The source code of the Happy Onlife application has been released as open source under the EUPL 1.1 Public licence. It can be used by anyone to customise the Happy Onlife game and reuse in other initiatives. The source code is available at https://github.com/happyonlife/hol.

JRC research on cybersecurity for young people

Children and young people are very active users of digital technology from an early age. Research shows that children learn quickly from mirroring the behaviour of parents, older siblings and peers. On one hand, children have acquired independency and skills within the digital world; on the other, they lack reflective and critical thinking as well as awareness about opportunities and risks such as cyber-bullying or digital identity theft. Active adult’s mediation would allow for the integration of values and critical thinking but so far, adults seem poor active mediators and in need of practical tools of empowerment.

Despite the wide range of offline and online resources and cyber-safety initiatives in the European Union, there is an urgent need for teaching aids in cybersecurity/online safety/data protection awareness, digital literacy and skill development to be brought to the attention of teachers, educators and parents as ‘ready-for-use’ resources.

JRC researchers conceived and developed the Happy Onlife product as a peer and media edutainment toolkit promoting safe and responsible uses of ICT among adults and children (8 - 12 years old). Happy Onlife opens a path to empower teachers and parents in actively guiding children to become smarter, responsible, and respectful when using digital technologies and help them understand opportunities, skills, risks and consequences behind the decisions they make online.

Since its release on August 2015, the Happy Onlife app has been downloaded 11.000 times and over 3.000 copies of the physical board game have been distributed to teachers and schools.

Further related activities

Happy Onlife booklet in EN, FR, ES and IT: This booklet presents, through simple and clear activity sheets, 17 projects, activities and strategies to address and promote exchange and digital experiences between teachers, parents and children aged 8 to 12.

Play the Cyber Chronix game to understand data protection rights: This online game, also developed by the Joint Research Centre, is a fun way to learn about data protection rights and raise awareness of privacy risks relating to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The game is in the format of branching story-telling comics and the story unfolds depending on the choices that you make. Concepts such as 'the right to be forgotten', 'data breach' and 'data portability' are introduced and explained.