Friends, if you and your family are not talking openly and often about internet safety, then you really must start doing so now.
What better time to start than on Safer Internet Day, February 5?
Safer Internet Day is geared toward making sure all people join together and do what they can to make the internet a safer place for everyone—especially for our younger users.
But how do we do this? We barely understand the internet, right? So how are we supposed to help our kids be “internet awesome”?
The great folks at Google have us covered. They have created a boatload of free resources to help keep kids safe online. And whether you use these resources at home or at school (or better yet, in both!), it doesn’t matter.
We just want you to use them. We just want you to share them with friends, family, teachers, counselors, and anyone who works with children.
Because the more kids who use these resources, the safer we all will be.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Be Internet Awesome — Free Resources to Help Keep Kids Be Internet Safe
Let’s be honest: the internet is an amazing and incredible thing. But it can also be a completely frightening thing. With the push of a button, we literally have the world at our fingertips.
So in order to make the most of the internet, kids need to be prepared to make smart decisions. Be Internet Awesome teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.
I love that, don’t you?
What is Be Internet Awesome?
Be Internet Awesome is like a driver’s license for the internet. Kids learn 5 fundamental components of internet safety through games and hands-on activities, and then they’re good to go.
They’re ready to roll on the internet.
They have earned their “license” and they can sign their Be Internet Awesome Pledge.
What are the 5 fundamentals of the Internet Code of Awesome? Easy.
1.) Be Internet Smart: Share With Care
I love the analogy of sharing online being like squeezing toothpaste from a tube—once it’s out, you can’t get it back into the tube.
Sharing online is the same, so in this component, kids learn all about sharing information in smart and safe ways.
2.) Be Internet Alert: Don’t Fall for Fake
Kids need to know how to discern what is real and what’s not online. They need to be able to recognize valid sources of information from phishing and scams.
And they need to be equipped with the skills they need to report questionable activity online.
3.) Be Internet Strong: Secure Your Secrets
Gone are the 123456 passwords! Get rid of the 111111 passwords! No more NameBirthday passwords!
Kids must learn how to create strong, safe passwords for once and for all.
They also must learn why sharing this kind of important information is absolutely not permitted.
4.) Be Internet Kind: It’s Cool to Be Kind
Not only are kids encouraged to “treat others the way they want to be treated”, but the focus here is to spread positivity online.
The internet can be a powerful force. Why not give our kids the tools they need to spread positive messages instead of simply ignoring or blocking bullies?
We want our kids to take action when they see unkind behavior because to do nothing is to essentially perpetuate the cycle. To allow it to happen.
5.) Be Internet Brave: When in Doubt, Talk It Out
It’s not easy for kids to admit when they’ve seen something weird or unusual online.
Some of the ads, videos, and photos that kids click on can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. They know they shouldn’t be on their screen, but what should they do now?
We want our kids to be brave enough to talk to trusted adults about what they encounter online. It’s important for our children to know that they can go to adults—especially instead of their peers—when they have these kinds of questions.
What kinds of Be Internet Awesome resources are available for home and school?
Kids love any online game, right? So the fact that Interland allows kids to practice putting to use the information they learned in the Be Internet Awesome curriculum in a challenging and engaging way is a huge win.
The graphics of this game are amazing, and really, kids ages 7-12 will totally dig it.
Interland for Chromebooks
There’s even Interland for School Chromebooks which allows G Suite administrators to make Interland available for students right on their Chromebooks.
Interland on Google Classroom
Interland can be easily shared on Google Classroom, where educators can assign tasks and monitor progress.
Google for Education Digital Citizenship Course
An awesome Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety Course for Educators can be found in the Teacher Center. Five units with two lessons each can get educators quickly up to speed. Or guess what? Parents can take the course, too!
Be Internet Awesome Curriculum
There is a ton here. Almost 70 pages packed with dozens of activities all aligned to the five fundamental components of Be Internet Awesome: Share with Care; Don’t Fall for Fake; Secure Your Secrets; It’s Cool to Be Kind; and When in Doubt, Talk It Out.
All lessons and activities are aligned with ISTE (International Standards for Technology in Education) standards and AASL (American Association of School Libraries).
Along with each lesson are several cool activities that kids will love. There are numerous scenarios that can be discussed and analyzed, and I can just see the arms waving in the air and kids squirming in their seats to share and be heard. This is right up their alley.
A handful of printables are included, also, which I know kids will appreciate, and you can grab them all in a shared Google folder: beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com/en/resources. That way, you can quickly project them on a smartboard or print.
These slides are literally ready for you to load and share online right now. They’re cute, engaging, and awesome.
Or, if you want to customize the slides a bit to fit your students’ needs, you can even do that. I absolutely love that Google clearly understands the demands put on educators so much so that they’ve made it so easy for them to use today.
Be Internet Awesome Papercraft
You know that there are kids who need and want a hands-on, crafty component of these online lessons. So the papercraft characters will be favorites for sure.
Now what do I do?
It can be overwhelming to see all of these resources—I get it.
But don’t just read through this and click on. Instead, take some positive action with them. You can:
- Share the slideshow with your own children;
- Forward this blog post to your child’s teacher or administrator;
- Share this post on Facebook so others can see it;
- Let your school PTA or PTO know about these resources;
- Offer to share these resources at the next community meeting or MOMS Club Meeting;
- Talk about the Be Internet Awesome resources with one parent at the bus stop or while waiting for your child’s soccer or dance practice to end;
- Share a tweet about this post;
- Screenshot one of the images here and share on Instagram.
I bet if you do one—just one!—of these things, you’ll feel so much better. You will be making a difference and helping someone to become internet awesome.
fyi: This post was written as part of a partnership with Google, but as always, my ideas and opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.