Be Internet Awesome - For Kids
As adults, we often take for granted the things we learned along the way – like never click on an email from someone you don’t know. We forget that we need to proactively teach our kids things we may have learned the hard way (like being very careful about what you type into a search engine).
As you talk to your kids, for example, about what you recently learned about Snapchat, you’re ultimately giving them skills to make smart choices online. We’ve recently come across a free resource from Google, Be Internet Awesome, which will help you do just that.
What is Be Internet Awesome all about?
Be Internet Awesome helps teach kids internet safety and digital citizenship. Google created lesson plans for parents and educators, and interactive online games for kids. That’s right – an online game you can feel good about because it reinforces lessons about sharing information on social media and what to do if you are targeted by a cyberbully. Plus, it’s pretty fun to play!
Pavni Diwanji, one of the Be Internet Awesome creators, shares this:
Developed in collaboration with online safety experts like the Family Online Safety Institute, iKeepSafe and ConnectSafely, Be Internet Awesome focuses on five key lessons to help kids navigate the online world with confidence.
The five lessons focus on these words: Smart, Alert, Strong, Kind, and Brave. These are definitely qualities I want my children to develop.
The lessons are designed for kids ages 8-12 in mind. However, the content could be adapted for a slightly younger or older crowd. The lessons were just updated in June 2018 – we’re talking current, relevant information at your fingertips to help your kids make smart choices online!
The link between being safe from pornography and being internet awesome
Be Internet Awesome is great at teaching digital citizenship and safety. But like almost all internet safety programs, they are a little squeamish when it comes to talking about pornography. It’s probably what they mean by “questionable content.” Well at Protect Young Minds, we dare to speak up about it rather than You-Know-Who it (any Harry Potter fans out there?)
Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself. Dumbledore to Harry Potter
We liked The Internet Code of Awesome’s five fundamentals so much, that we added our ideas to tie them in with teaching kids how to keep away from pornography.
Be Internet Smart: Share with Care
Keep personal information private; also, if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t share it online.
Pornography connection: Teach kids not to show pornography to other kids if they accidentally see it – get an adult to help. Also, don’t pass on disrespectful, compromising or sexually explicit photos of other kids (or yourself!) through texting or social media.
Be Internet Alert: Don’t Fall for Fake
Not everything online is true or real! Learn about the strategies people use to steal identities. Also, people online can pretend to be someone else. Be careful who you share information with.
Pornography connection: Pornography tries to trick people into watching fake illusions of bodies, relationships and sexuality. Also, someone who has pretended to be your friend online might be trying groom kids for sexual abuse, sex trafficking or making pornography.
Be Internet Strong: Secure Your Secrets
It’s important to create strong passwords to protect your online accounts. Also, make sure you review your privacy and security settings often. You want to control who sees the information you put online
Pornography connection: It’s a real threat – 160,000 Facebook accounts are compromised every day! Some hackers will access your email or social media and send porn to your friends. And don’t share your passwords with friends. Sometimes friends try to play pranks by pretending to be you, but that can really hurt your reputation if they share inappropriate photos or comments.
Be Internet Kind: It’s Cool to Be Kind
Use the internet to “spread positive vibes.” You can block people who are being mean or inappropriate, and always speak up! Report mean activity to an adult every time.
Pornography connection: Carefully choose the pictures and other content you want to share online with the goal of uplifting others. You can block people who share inappropriate things like sexually suggestive videos, pictures, songs, memes, etc. Some people ask for nude pictures of others and then share it with others to be mean. If you receive a text with an inappropriate picture, tell an adult so you can help stop the cruel joke.
Be Internet Brave: When in Doubt, Talk it Out
Talk to a trusted adult anytime something feels “off” or when you KNOW something’s wrong.
Pornography connection: Parents can be clear about what pornography is, why it is harmful and what to do when kids see it. Many internet safety programs are so ambiguous – “if you see anything that makes you uncomfortable” is too vague for kids! Especially because pornography might actually make a child feel good and bad at the same time. Kids need to have the right words to be able to explain what they have seen to a trusted adult.