App Review: Upstanders

I really wanted to like Upstanders HD, an app for the iPad that suggests it will give players the tools to stand up to bullies and not be just a simple bystander, watching the action unfold.  I was lured in by the title, of course. (Smart move, that title.) Unfortunately, it is a simple game couched with the jargon of the moment, and not only is the game not very exciting but the learning is minimal. The game professes to put players in difficult situations and have them take action. The only real action is jumping around the school, grabbing bananas and other things, and “making friends” by jumping into people, so that you have enough confidence to “stand” in between the bully and the victim.

Empowered? Not really.

I’m not sure what I would do different for a game that teaches young people how to become more than a bystander to bullying. I think it is important and I do work with my students on this topic, particularly how it relates to digital platforms. I had been hoping this game might be an extension activity. But it won’t be. It just doesn’t have enough substance for a teaching moment or, a true mark against it, the gameplay to make the game worth playing. I don’t often post negative reviews but this was one dollar I wish I had back.

Peace (in taking action),

PS — A better way to share upstanding behavior is to check out the Upstanders, Not Bystanders project and the Stepping Up Project through Digital ID website


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