Our kids are growing up in a world driven by technology. Infants are learning to unlock phones and toddlers can already navigate to their favorite apps or shows on any device. If babies and toddlers are doing all of that… we can be certain that kids and teens are able to do a whole lot more, perhaps even more that adults have figured out!
I’m excited to be partnering with Google today to talk about internet safety, for #SaferInternetDay
This week I was invited to San Antonio by Forward Influence to be a part of an event Google was hosting about internet safety for kids. There were dynamic speakers and an interactive exhibit to help kids learn about safety on the internet through fun, hands-on activities.
Even though most of you aren’t local to San Antonio, I have great news for you! You and your kids can check out Interland – an interactive game created just for kids to help them learn about internet safety. This game is SO FUN your kids won’t even realize they are learning!
Lelie Boggs, the president elect of the national PTA was there, sharing how the PTA and Google are working together to help kids be Internet Awesome. You can encourage your child’s school to get involved by sharing the free resources at the bottom of this post with them, created specifically with educators in mind!
We were all given pieces of curriculum that has been created to help parents and teachers alike to open conversations with children about safety on the internet.
They suggested we teach kids 5 pillars to help them be Internet Awesome, and I couldn’t agree with these more. When your kids play with the free Interland game online, they’ll work through games in each of these pillars!
Be Internet Smart
With tips like, protecting screens and passwords this pillar is all about using the internet in an intentional way, knowing that whatever you put online, could stay online forever.
Be Internet Alert
Helping kids know how to avoid dangerous phishing sites, avoid spammy ads and even know the difference between a secure (https) site and a non secure (http) site can go a long way in making sure they are staying alert to many of the dangers the internet can pose to a family.
It’s important when talking to kids about these things, to emphasize that it’s always okay to come and talk to you, even if they’ve already made a mistake online or if they make one in the future. If they’ve fallen for a scam or communicated inappropriately, assure them that you are always a safe person to come and talk to about this so that you can help them.
Be Internet Strong
Choosing strong passwords is the foundation to a safe experience online. Don’t use personal names or anything too simple like “password” or “12345”. So many adults still make these mistakes, so be sure you set a good example for your kids by making secure passwords for yourself, and then passing along your best strategies for password security to them.
Be Internet Kind
This pillar is all about spreading kindness online. Since our kids are growing up on the internet, it’s easy for them to view it as something separate from themselves. Talk about cyber bullying and make sure your kids know to only type things online if they are things that they would say in person AND things they wouldn’t mind hearing some one else say about them.
The golden rule applies online too!
Be Internet Brave
The internet is a huge place and inevitably our kids are going to come across something that we wish they wouldn’t. Prepare your kids for these moments, by making sure they know that you’ll always be on their side. Teach them how to take screenshots so they have evidence of anything that makes them feel uncomfortable and let them know that they should always come to you or another trusted adult for help when they see something online that makes them uncomfortable.
I loved hearing about these five pillars and learning fun ways to teach them to my kids as well. As they reminded us at the event in San Antonio, internet safety is something is a conversation that should be had early, and often with your kids.
Let’s join together to help our kids Be Internet Awesome and build a safer internet.
What I’ve shared today is just the tip of the ICEBERG OF INFORMATION Google and it’s parntners are providing for free for parents and educators to use with kids.