Internet entrepreneur creates a novel family fun game to ensure healthy digital lifestyles

  • MONOPOLY was created to teach us how to make sound asset/property acquisitions and trading to create wealth.
  • CASHFLOW was created to help us with sound investment/financial decisions that ensure constant cashflow.
  • SMARTKLIQ is now created to help us take the best steps in our new-found digital lifestyle.
  • Lawson says Digital Knowledge is Cyber Power.

History

During his stay in the heart of Corporate Ghana, coordinating various Software implementations for commercial banks and other top firms, Theodore Lawson realised that there is usually a huge communication gap between developers and end-users of various applications.

As a project lead, he focused on communicating the various requirements among stakeholders in order to ensure total acceptance of deliverables.  During this period, he came across a woman dragging her teenage daughter out of an Internet café – because she understood that kids access bad content online and she was not going to have her daughter visit the internet café to engage in that.

Lawson quickly intervened to make the woman appreciate the essence of having her child accessing the Internet, and that she had to tactically caution her against the bad and rather encourage her to make good decisions while online.

He then thought “if we can all accept that we are now digital citizens (Netizens) and be responsible online, then we can all get the best out of the Internet”.  The incident sparked a lot of research, and SMARTKLIQ was born in 2012 to encourage a responsible Cyber-culture among the youth.

During the extensive research that gave rise to the creation of this novel game and other info-products, Lawson said he came across a strong call by the International Telecommunication Union that goes as follows:

He says the SMARTKLIQ Initiative is also situated within the remit of SDG 4, which entreats us as stakeholders to ensure inclusive knowledge for all which promotes lifelong learning opportunities.) In its own case, it is to achieve inclusive participation in the formal economy via insightful digital knowledge dissemination.

Other concerns the team discovered:

  • “I welcome the ITU’s Child Online Protection Initiative. and I urge all States to support it.” – Ban Ki-Moon, Former UN Secretary-General

 

  • Use of the Internet and other communication technologies, such as mobile phones, continues to grow considerably in the African Union and offers all citizens great opportunities for, inter-alia, participation, interactivity and creativity. However, risks to children and abuse of these technologies continue to exist; and as a result of changing technologies and societal behaviour, new risks and abuses continue to emerge. Measures should be adopted at all levels in order to protect the physical, mental and moral integrity of children, which might be impaired by their accessing inappropriate content…………http://www.acopea.org
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  • Technology is now a necessity. A country is not backward because of the colour of its citizens’ skin, but lack of availability for basic requirements that make for quality living. For years, most African nations have been denied access to required technology that can help advance communication…… http://africanchildright.org

  • This new-found happiness also encouraged/allowed many under-aged children (upper adolescence especially) unguided access to websites they normally should not access. No one seems to be cautioning them since they stand as customers who have paid for services…………………….. http://africanchildright.org

 

  • Protecting children online is a priority; and similar to teaching a child how to ride a bike or drive a car, we should be helping them learn how to navigate the online world……. Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Google Ghana Country Manager.

 

SMARTKLIQ Activities

Since 2012, Lawson and his team have been involved in several activities to help send their impactful message across the length and breadth of the country.

They have had insightful features in the print media such as B&FT to educate parents/guardians who are supposed to teach their wards in this digital world.

They have had collaborations with media partners including B&FT, Metro TV and UTV to cover their organised forums for students in some parts of the country. They also participated in the 1st Ashanti Business and Investment Fair back in May 2014, where they sold a lot of their SMARTKLIQ Family fun games and mini-magazine.

SMARTKLIQ, in collaboration with some private schools, has visited and given the students an experiential opportunity on the fun games. And working with some district GES secretariats, workshops have been held for teachers and students to further the agenda of responsible Cyber-culture. During the various campus visits and engagments with students, one thing came out clearly; that about 90% of digital life-knowledge is peer-to-peer taught among the youth.

Forums during campus visits                                              

Addressing students selected from a metropolis

In 2020, the team believes it’s time to re-launch this project, as the concerns and challenges it set out to address are now rife in our digital lives today.

The Family Fun Game

In summary, the game is scientifically designed to highlight the two major behaviour-types one is likely to encounter in our digital living today. Just like natural life, the digital life also has the good and the bad. The game encourages us to choose the good for rewards, and the bad paths are punishable. It also teaches expert ways of dealing with every pitfall/mishap that one can come across in the digital world.

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For example, it teaches juniors not to discuss family info online; and bad people can use that information to harm them and their families. They are also taught the essence of Passwords, PINs or Login Codes from an early age. The game is good for family members from age 6+.

The second version teaches, for example, ways to deal with online reputation management after an unexpected digital pitfall.  It also teaches how to stay safe while transacting electronically via online, MoMo or bank cards.

It is an excellent tool for digital parenting, which is expected to be a priority for every parent today. Most parents have little or no knowledge about how to guide their wards’ Internet engagements. The game is simplified to enable even less tech-savvy parents to advise their young children on best online practices. The more you play the game, the more insight you get.

You cannot afford not to have this game in your home to keep your family ahead, and also protect them, in today’s digital age.

Most youth are falling for the lure of online relationships today, especially on social media that has to do with of sharing information quicker to be heard or acknowledged.

Teachers & Students playing the Smartkliq fun game

The team says learning digital life-skills is more essential today than it was couple of years ago. Today, you must be digitally functional to stay in touch with even family and friends. The requirement to be digitally skillful is becoming even more stringent for work.

Lawson and his team are aiming to help all of us navigate our professional fields by being fully digitally equipped through the development of other information products.

APPEAL

 

All stakeholders – including ministries and government agencies, NGOs, companies, parents/guardians, schools, religious bodies etc. – are being urged to join this noble agenda.

 

This young vibrant team is seeking partnerships (especially in areas of business expertise and distribution networks) for pushing this agenda forward collectively – championing this social enterprise to make a positive impact in the ever-growing digital living of people in Ghana and beyond.

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