The Buddy System for Safe Social Networking Online

New Game Tests Who to Approve and Who to Remove

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The Federal Trade Commission today announced a new game that quizzes players on their online social networking practices and offers tips to help keep kids and teens safe online. The game, “Buddy Builder,” is available in English and Spanish.

In the game, players move through different rounds by correctly reacting to common requests found on social networking sites. For example:

Accept or Deny: It’s me, your Uncle John! Thanks for the link – Aunt Mary and I love your page... can you add us to your buddy list?
When players accept, they are advised: Yes, this is a fairly safe bet (assuming you actually had an Uncle John and Aunt Mary, and you invited them to visit your page!) If you’re at all unsure, why not call or e-mail him to check?

Accept or Deny: Wazzup? I think I know U – send me your pic (in swimsuit, pls!)?
When players deny, they are advised: Good thinking. Consider not posting your photo online – not only could it be altered in embarrassing ways, but do you really want strangers to know what you look like?

The quiz is one of several offered by OnGuardOnline, a multimedia, interactive consumer education campaign launched by the FTC and a partnership of other federal agencies and the technology industry. The comprehensive Web site, OnGuardOnline.gov has tips, articles, videos, and interactive activities. There is no copyright on the quizzes or other information on OnGuardOnline.gov; the information can be downloaded by companies and other organizations to use in their own computer security programs. The content is available in Spanish through AlertaenLinea.gov.

The FTC introduced “Buddy Builder” during October, National Cyber Security Awareness Month. OnGuardOnline.gov and OnGuardOnline.gov have logged more than 2 million unique visits since the launch on September 27, 2005.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
FTC Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180