Talking to kids about online safety is a difficult undertaking for many adults, and making the lessons stick is even harder.
To that end, Google has launched a new program called Be Internet Awesome, which includes:
- An online video game called Interland
- A classroom curriculum
- A YouTube video series
The game and learning materials, designed with the help of online safety experts like the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and ConnectSafely, are aimed at children that are between 8 and 11.
Interland can be played on any of the major browsers (and not just Chrome!). It leads the player through several floating islands where the challenges and puzzles they have to complete will teach them about several aspects of online safety: how to chose which information to share with whom, how to chose good passwords, how to deal with online bullies, how to spot scams.
The classroom curriculum includes lesson plans for educators to teach and materials for exercises to do with the children.
The video series is meant to make talking about online safety fun and accessible, and in general to allow parents and guardians to jumpstart conversations with their children about online safety.
“For kids to really make the most of the web, we need more than just helpful products: We need to provide guidance as they learn to make their own smart decisions online,” noted Pavni Diwanji vice president of engineering for kids and families at Google.
“This is one of the most significant issues that we all face as a new generation grows up with the Internet at their fingertips. It’s critical that the most influential people in our kids’ lives—parents and teachers, especially—help kids learn how to be smart, positive and kind online, just like we teach them to be offline.”