Noida boy develops game-based app for internet safety, wins Google contest
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Noida boy develops game-based app for internet safety, wins Google contest

His app ‘Webme’ was chosen as one of the winners of the third edition of the Google Web Rangers contest by Google India on February 6.

noida Updated: Feb 14, 2018 21:30 IST
Vaibhav Jha
Vaibhav Jha
Hindustan Times
Google India,Google,Google India contest
Fourteen-year-old Noida Mrigank Pawagi with his android gaming app Webme. He was one of the three winners of Google India’s Web Rangers contest.(HT Photo)

Noida: For 14-year-old Noida boy, Mrigank Pawagi, internet is a fun learning platform where safety is a priority. The young lad from Noida has developed an android app that teaches internet safety to netizens.

His app ‘Webme’ was chosen as one of the winners of the third edition of the Google Web Rangers contest by Google India on February 6.

Web Rangers is an annual programme of Google and was launched in 2015 with an aim to encourage teenagers to come up with innovative ideas and campaigns to promote the importance of internet safety.

The third edition of the Web Rangers contest received over 5,000 projects, campaigns and posters from across the country and Pawagi was adjudged one of the three winners. The winners were given a tablet and a certificate of appreciation from Google India.

Pawagi’s app is a fun interactive game that allows users to learn internet safety by completing interesting challenges that take them to different levels.

Pawagi, a student of class 8 of Vishwa Bharati School in Sector 28, developed this app in 2017 after he got an idea to teach internet users about net safety through video games.

“I read blogs and articles on the internet all the time and I realised that there are a total of 3.2 billion internet users in the world and almost 50% of them prefer playing video games on their phone. There are many articles and blogs related to internet safety but reading text is a boring exercise and people may lose interest soon. So, I decided to develop a video game that can simultaneously entertain people and teach them about internet safety,” Pawagi said.

Explaining the workings of his app, Pawagi said, “This game has a total of five levels and after a player has crossed all levels, they will receive a certificate of appreciation for learning internet safety. The first level will teach the user how to connect the phone to a WiFi network and to identify which network is safe and which is vulnerable.”

“Similarly, the second level will teach the user how to set up a WiFi connection safely, how to set a password and how to apply a firewall. The third level will teach the user how to identify malicious websites while using the search engine. Each level will carry marks, according to the performance of the user.”

A tech geek from childhood, Pawagi claims that his interest towards gadgets made him learn the nitty-gritty of internet safety.

“People love to use the internet but they are hardly bothered about safety. It is a minefield of information but one needs to vigilant to save themselves from malicious websites,” Pawagi said.

Son of a Noida based businessman, Milind Pawagi, the lad claims already has an iPad and an android phone.

“I am always on the internet researching something or the other and I want to pursue computer science in future. It took me four to five weeks to develop this application and, currently, it is available on android powered phones and tablets. I am also working on developing higher levels for the game and a cross platform version will also be developed,” Pawagi said.

Google India representatives said the Web Rangers programme has trained over 30,000 student ambassadors across private and government schools from over 75 cities in 12 states.

“We are overwhelmed by the participation of students in third edition of the Web Rangers contest. This year has been our most successful edition as we saw equal participation of students from private and government schools. With their creative ideas, teenagers helped us spread the message of internet safety and good digital citizenship, while empowering their friends and families to have a safer and meaningful digital experience,” Sunita Mohanty, director, trust and safety, Google India, said.

First Published: Feb 14, 2018 21:30 IST