Google has recently launched an educational program designed to teach children about phishing, internet harassment, passwords, and other internet safety issues. The programme is called “Be Internet Awesome,” and it aims to teach children the fundamentals of digital citizenship and provides parents and educators with resources to help children and young people navigate the web and their online interactions.
The programme contains a classroom curriculum and a video game called Interland. It was developed with help from teachers, YouTube videographers, and internet safety and literacy organizations, and all the resources are available online for free.
Be Internet Awesome tackles topics that are relevant to all ages, though it’s particularly aimed at younger children. It includes sections on how to limit sharing personal information with people online, avoid falling for scams or phishing attacks, creating strong passwords, and avoiding negative behaviour online. It even includes a “Be Internet Awesome Pledge” that students can sign.
This useful resource is broken up into a number of modules. For the “Share with Care” module, students look at a made-up social media profile and cross out information that a parent, employer, or future self might look poorly upon. In the “Don’t Fall for Fake” module, the children must decide whether a series of webpages and emails look real or fake. And the “It’s Cool to be Kind” module urges children to avoid responding or reacting to hurtful messages, as well as block and report bullies.
The web based game, Interland, is an imaginary world of four lands where children combat hackers, phishers, oversharers and bullies, practicing the skills they need to be good digital citizens. The video game, has a number of sections. “Mindful Mountain,” for example, turns the process of sharing specific posts with the right people into a spatial puzzle. Players promote positivity in a platforming game by tossing out friendly emoticons and hitting the “block” button to trap trolls. The password security game is a Temple Run-style activity where you collect letters and symbols . Overall this is an excellent resource from Google which makes the topic of internet safety fun and interesting for young children.