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When used appropriately, the internet can open doors to a world that is an invaluable resource for young students. But, as we all know, there are some doors that are best left unopened—especially for kids and teens who are just beginning to navigate the online world. While we can’t always be beside our kids and guiding them on the internet, we can set them up for success by preparing them to make smart choices.
Just like any other important subject, addressing internet safety should start with an open, judgment-free and age-appropriate conversation. Of course, knowing how to start this discussion can be tricky. Enter: Be Internet Awesome, a program from Google that is designed to take the guesswork out of teaching kids about digital citizenship. This free education resource is backed by online safety experts and used in homes and schools throughout the world.
This is important because internet activity touches so many parts of life—from the way kids research topics at school to how they interact with others online at home. By giving educators and parents the resources to teach kids about internet safety, Be Internet Awesome helps everyone get on the same page about expectations and responsibilities. And although learning about internet safety isn’t all fun and games, that is part of it with “Internetland,” a guided online adventure that helps kids practice digital safety through engaging challenges.
At the core of Be Internet Awesome’s philosophy is empowerment. Why? We’re not always going to be able to be beside our kids. But, when they feel trusted, confident and informed, they can make good choices online. From teaching kids how to avoid scams to inspiring them to always treat others with kindness online, Be Internet Awesome lays the groundwork for healthy internet habits that also positively influences our offline lives.
Here’s what your kids (and you!) can learn from Be Internet Awesome…
Learn how to Be Internet Smart
When information is shared online, it’s hard to take back. Kids especially don’t have the same filter as adults, which is why it’s so essential to talk about what information shouldn’t be posted on the internet—even in seemingly secure conversations. By covering guidelines about what details always need to stay private, you can help your kids protect themselves. Tip: One good rule is never to share anything online that you wouldn’t tell someone in person!
Learn how to Be Internet Alert
When something seems too good to be true, it often is… but it still can be tempting to click that button on the computer that promises a chance at $1 million in prize money! (We’ve all been there.) As your kids begin to venture online, help them be on the lookout for scams and phishing attempts. Internet scammers have gotten much savvier in their schemes, so everyone who is online needs to be aware of red flags.
Learn how to Be Internet Strong
Your kid wouldn’t give the code to their secret diary to their sibling, right? They should guard their internet accounts with just as much care by creating unique passwords. Our internet accounts can be treasure troves of personal information, so learning how to keep these details securely locked up behind a strong password is an important part of using the internet.
Learn how to Be Internet Kind
In an online world where you can be anything, be kind. Positivity and negativity can both spread fast on the internet, so discussing how to be a source of goodness can make a big difference. An increasing number of educators are making Be Internet Awesome part of their curriculum, which is an amazing way to decrease bullying behaviors—and it’s good to set the same expectations at home by talking about disengaging in mean conversations, blocking inappropriate behavior and standing up for others.
Learn how to Be Internet Brave
The first step is to give children the tools and resources to protect themselves online. But the next step is just as important: Keep the conversation going and be sure they are comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns. When we create a supportive environment with parents, teachers and other trusted adults, our kids are all better for it.
Click here to start the conversation about internet safety today and help your kids learn how to Be Internet Awesome with the free resources from Google.