Some People Think the Internet is Broken. Can Google Help Kids Fix It?

The net may be damaged.

On one hand, we’ve instantaneous get admission to a wealth of records, pals, and leisure. But then again, we are swimming in a sea of doubtful content material, shady characters, and systems which are continuously gambling whack-a-mole towards offensive postings.

This is specifically problematic for the youngest users–internet-enabled youngsters being raised by using dial-up parents. In an attempt to help children be empowered and informed customers online, educators and businesses across u. S . (and globe) were selling online protection, digital citizenship, and media literacy applications.

Now Google is stepping up with its “Be Internet Awesome” campaign, which incorporates an array of resources and a corresponding video game.

“I could not consider what the sector we be like without the Internet today,” says one of the children featured in Google’s Be Internet Awesome marketing campaign video. His sentiment seems to be the overarching subject matter that we’re entering a brand new ordinary wherein the internet is shifting from a novelty to a given. But have we adjusted as a consequence?

The trouble with applications promoting online safety and digital citizenship is they can from time to time fall into the “devour your broccoli” or stranger/danger camp, which may also restrict their effectiveness and buy-in. Google and others need to stroll a pleasant stability between promoting the blessings of an interconnected international network and also making customers aware of the dangers. The “Be Internet Awesome” bridges this duality with the aid of focusing on a holistic virtual citizen–a balance between defensive skills and being properly informed and engaged.

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The unfastened Be Internet Awesome sources are designed to teach kids approximately issues together with protective passwords, now not falling for fake news or scams, and being type online. For both the curriculum and the corresponding recreation, youngsters undergo a selection position-playing sports and quizzes. The resources have been designed with the assist of educators and leading online safety groups, inclusive of ConnectSafely, iKeepSafe, and the Family Online Safety Institute.

Be Internet Awesome specializes in five key lessons to help children with a bit of luck navigate the web International:

Be Internet Smart: Share with care
Be Internet Alert: Don’t fall for faux
Be Internet Strong: Secure your secrets
Be Internet Kind: It’s cool to be type
Be Internet Brave: When doubtful, communicate it out

“I love to Be Internet Awesome as it covers all of the bases – all three literacies of the digital age,” says journalist and teens suggest Anne Collier, who has been heavily worried inside the evolution of online protection since the past due to the 90s. Collier points out that the first two lessons (“Smart” and “Alert”) fall below media literacy, whilst “Strong” is a digital literacy, and “Kind” and “Brave” are social literacies.

“Kids want these training,” says Diana Graber, who shares Collier’s enthusiasm. Graber is the founder of Cyber Civics, and a leading advocate for greater virtual citizenship and media literacy in the course of colleges. She changed into particularly happy to look age-suitable cloth geared to a younger target market.

Do We Need Universal Internet Safety Education?

While many human beings view the contemporary push closer to online civility and media literacy as new issues [in reaction to trolls, fake news, etc], there has in truth been several campaigns, undertaking forces, and academic studies aimed at making sure youngsters are secure, savvy, and ethical on-line.

Collier served as co-chair of the Obama management’s Online Safety & Technology Working Group starting in 2009. In June 2010, the organization brought its report to Congress, “Youth Safety on a Living Internet.” “This is what our 2010 country wide venture pressure’s file to Congress known as for as customary, fundamental Internet protection ed,” says Collier. The three literacies derive from the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet (2014), which Collier also served on.

“All learners need to have the literacies important to utilize media, in addition, to safeguard themselves inside the virtual age.” -Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet

As we’ve discovered with the upward push of trolls and pretend news, the internet would not magically restoration itself. It is based on its users being knowledgeable, empowered, and engaged. It depends on us being a touch extranet superb.

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David Ryan Polgar is an author, speaker, and head of Trust & Safety for the teen social gaming platform Friendbase. He explores the effect of social media & tech from an ethical, prison, and emotional angle. Connect @TechEthicist or on Facebook.