This post is sponsored by Be Internet Awesome
When my kids were preschoolers, many of our conversations centered around kindness and friendship. We read books about friendship, talked about what it meant to be kind, modeled how to be a good friend to others, and seized teachable moments to turn teary playground playdates into positive lessons about treating others like you wanted to be treated. Fast forward to the present. As a mom of a tween and teen, the conversations about kindness and friendship continue but they extend beyond the real-life face to face interactions in school hallways, classrooms, and during extra-curricular activities to virtual ones that occur through texts, DMs, and comments on social posts.
The online world can be a great place to connect and strengthen friendships but it can also be an arena where feelings are hurt and friendships shatter. I see my tween son connecting with friends after the school day through games of Fortnite while my teenage daughter texts friends for homework help as they commiserate about their college level classes. Tweens and teens strengthen bonds with friends through the ability to stay constantly connected but the same comments, conversations, and content that are positive can quickly turn into negative interactions where kids feel bullied, unsafe, and less than confident.
Bullying, both in person and cyberbullying, is real and affects kids of all ages. We know:
- 28% of students have personally experienced bullying
- 71% of students have been direct witnesses of bullying
- Only 20-30% of students notify adults of bullying
- Over 50% of parents are concerned about their child being bullied
Introducing Be Internet Awesome
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and while the month highlights this topic, we know it’s important for our kids to be good digital citizens who behave in a safe way throughout the year. In order to disempower bullying behavior and create healthy, productive spaces for our kids to interact, Google has created Be Internet Awesome. Be Internet Awesome is a free multifaceted program designed to teach kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.
The goal of Be Internet Awesome is to encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children of all ages. It includes a classroom curriculum as well as resources for parents to use at home with their kids to extend these lessons beyond the school day and into year-round learning.
Be Internet Awesome consists of five areas and during each week in October, I’ll be highlighting a theme that corresponds to these important values:
- SMART: Where we learn to share with care
- ALERT: Where we learn not to fall for fake
- STRONG: Where we learn how to secure our digital stuff
- KIND: Where we learn that itʼs cool to be kind
- BRAVE: Where we learn that, when in doubt, we talk it out
Free Be Internet Awesome Resources For Families
This month I’m working with Be Internet Awesome to help you start a conversation with your family so kids can take simple actions to be an Upstander, rather than a bystander, among their peers. Each week this month, starting tomorrow, I’ll be covering a different theme and here’s a sneak peek at what’s to come!
- October 4 — Treat others how you’d like to be treated, both online and IRL
- October 10 — Be an Upstander! An Upstander fights bad behavior and stands up for kindness and positivity
- October 17 — Do simple actions to turn negative interactions into positive ones
- October 24 — Make good decisions when choosing what to say and how to deliver it
- October 31 — Spread kindness online
Google believes that there is no safety “tool” more important than open-hearted, open-minded communication in families and knowing that conversations are key to our kids learning, they have created Be Internet Awesome to be a complete resource on digital citizenship basics. Your family can build on, play with, or learn together using these free resources:
- Interland, an interactive online adventure game about digital safety and citizenship
- Vocabulary and talking points to use for family discussions a
- Activities that will help you lay a strong foundation for your kids’ safe, successful use of the Internet.
Free Be Internet Awesome Curriculum For Teachers
Be Internet Awesome curriculum is also being used in classrooms around the country. Teachers love it because it is:
- Includes classroom ready curriculum is are aligned to ISTE standards
- Ready-to-present slides from Pear Deck are available for each activity in the curriculum
- Able to be used across devices
- Available in both English and Spanish
- Doesn’t require any personal information or login
- Interactive slides for each of Interland’s lessons are built to work with G Suite for Education and Interland can be made easily available from their Chromebook taskbar
- Ability to assign Interland to specific classes or sections, or make the resource available to all students in the form of a class announcement
- Educators looking to teach digital literacy skills to students of all ages can try the new Google for Education Digital Citizenship and Safety module, available globally through Google for Education Teacher Center
For more information about Be Internet Awesome, visit g.co/BeInternetAwesome.
Share this with fellow parents and tell your kids’ teachers about the online curriculum so they can use these activities in their classrooms. Also be sure to come back tomorrow for tips on how to talk to your kids about the importance of being kind online and in real life!
This post is sponsored by Google and Be Internet Awesome but all opinions are my own.