“Kids are inherently curious.”
Be Internet Awesome, a Google platform for children to become better digital citizens, is fairly new in the past couple years but gaining more and more attention in recent months. Let’s take a look at what you can find in this program.
Be Internet Awesome is “helping kids be safe, confident explorers of the online world.” Kids will always be curious but can access information (good and bad) in a simple click more easily than ever before. None of us are naive to the potential online dangers and Google has presented this program for students, families, and educators.
- The Internet Code of Awesome guidelines
- Interland: Online adventure with digital citizenship lessons
“If it isn’t right to say, it isn’t right to post.”
Google’s Internet Code of Awesome is straightforward and pure common sense. The fundamentals are to be internet smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave. Common issues are addressed, such as responsibly communicating with others. This can range from online strangers and scams to cyber bullying. Whether it’s not clicking on every message or pop-up you see on your screen to securing your password, Google covers the most common issues facing our students today. For example, Google asks students to treat other online users as if they were face-to-face. If it isn’t right to say, it isn’t right to post.
Google has provided a 98-page curriculum (updated 2019) for teachers (or families) to use, extensively covering how to share with care, not fall for fake, secure your secrets, exhibit kindness online, and know when to seek help from an adult. The accompanying printables include a parent letter, activities, a family guide, internet tips, and a pledge. (See above links.) The curriculum provides rich discussion and activities to truly embed the importance and understanding of responsible digital citizenship. A further seal of approval? Google’s 2019 curriculum has the ISTE Seal of Alignment.
Play safe. Learn safe. Stay safe.
Interland is the interactive platform to engage students in what they learn from their families and teachers. Four challenging games engrain these valuable lessons. Students can learn to discern fake sites or offers on the Reality River, then travel to Mindful Mountain where they learn to share with care. The Tower of Treasure will secure their secrets and Kind Kingdom teaches that it’s cool to be kind.
Let’s take a look at Kind Kingdom: Students are asked to report negative behavior in order to restore the peaceful nature among the kingdom. Players collect hearts to spread kindness to sad internauts who need some love. Ten points are awarded with each thumbs up or heart given to another character. Block the monsters who spread negativity (a clear bullying example)!
Google has provided a thorough and interactive program for students, their families, and educators to be engaged in their digital citizenship responsibility. While the program is intended for younger students, the materials could be applied across all ages. I would strongly encourage teachers to involve parents as we all transition technology into our classrooms. Teachers often field the questions and issues of tech use, how much tech, too much tech, not the right use or amount of tech…the list goes on. Google makes it easy for us to open the conversation to parents and provide ample resources to tackle this challenge together. If we fail to teach smart digital citizenship, would we not be doing a disservice to our students?