Mobile devices can be both a blessing and a curse. Many people spend an increasing amount of time staring into those little devices, which may be of special concern to parents who'd rather see their children spend time learning. But a fun app just released by the American Red Cross (ARC) could turn that distracting phone into a life-saving tool.
The ARC say the newly released version of their Monster Guard App: Prepare for Emergencies can help save lives through gaming. Children between the ages of 7 and 11 can role play as different monster characters and earn points while learning how to be safe in the event of home fires, hurricanes, floods and other disasters.
Set in the "Monster Guard Academy," children earn points as they direct the characters to identify hazards, locate a safe room in the house and select items for their emergency supplies kit. They can earn gold, silver or bronze medals based on the number of points they score — and star multipliers located throughout the episodes allow them to bump their scores even higher. If a player completes all the episodes, he or she will graduate and become a member of the "Monster Guard."
“We know that kids are at higher risk from disasters than grown-ups,” said Russ Paulsen, executive director of Community Preparedness and Resilience for the Red Cross. “This game empowers children with information on being safe and teaches coping skills — but in a fun way.”
Monster Guard is a complement to The Pillowcase Project, a free Red Cross youth preparedness program designed to increase children’s awareness and understanding of natural hazards and to reduce their fears. Kids can learn about safety and develop emotional coping and personal emergency preparedness skills. Information on The Pillowcase Project is available here.
The app and The Pillowcase Project — both sponsored by Disney — are also key components of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, which was set up to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by 25 percent over the next five years. The campaign focuses on increasing the use of smoke alarms in neighborhoods with high numbers of home fires and encouraging everyone to practice their fire escape plans.
The new version of the Monster Guard app is available for tablets and other mobile devices and runs on iOS 7 and above. People can text ‘MONSTER’ to 90999 and receive a direct link to download the app or use this link. Children should ask a parent or guardian for permission before downloading the app.