This post is sponsored by Be Internet Awesome
When I was a technology magnet coordinator, one of my beginning of the year tasks was to acquaint kids with our school system’s User Responsibilities for Computer Systems, Electronic Information, and Network Security during their first visit to the computer lab. This nine page PDF was filled with legalese that wasn’t age appropriate for my 3rd – 5th graders. I’d extract the most important points for a discussion about digital citizenship but it was the driest, yet most necessary, lesson I taught all year. As interactive as I tried to make this first required computer lab lesson, I failed miserably every year and only wish I could have used Interland with my students.
About Interland’s 4 Games that Teach Digital Citizenship
We know learning through play is one of the most effective ways for kids of any age to demonstrate their knowledge in a fun way and Interland does just that. Interland is a free, web-based game by Google that makes learning about digital citizenship a fun, engaging and hands-on experience.
This online adventure puts key lessons of digital safety into hands-on practice with four challenging games where kids are asked various questions about real world scenarios that they could encounter. Here’s a look at each of the four games, how to play, and the questions that are asked in each game that helps reinforce important lessons about digital citizenship.
Kind Kingdom: It’s Cool to be Kind
Vibes of all kinds are contagious, for better or for worse. In the sunniest corner of town, troublemakers are spreading negativity everywhere. Block and report troublemakers to stop their takeover and be kind to other Internauts to restore the peaceful nature of this land. Get to the top of the kingdom by spreading good vibes and nixing the bad.
How to play Kind Kingdom:
Using the right, left, and up arrows to command your Internaut, navigate through Kind Kingdom to pick up hearts to give to sad Internauts throughout the land. By giving them hearts, thumbs up, or high fives, you’ll spread kindness and make them happy.
Be sure to avoid the large yellow Troublemakers who attempt to bring you down with negativity. They’re best left behind fences as you avoid them or look for the bullhorns to report them and they’ll be magically whisked away as you continue your climb to the top of the kingdom.
This is a great game for the youngest ages to start with because there is a high satisfaction factor through this easy to play game. Early elementary ages will enjoy spreading kindness as they make their Internaut jump to different levels while spreading kindness throughout the Kingdom.
Reality River: Don’t Fall for Fake
The river that runs through Interland flows with fact and fiction. But things aren’t always what they seem. Cross the rapids by using your best judgement. Watch out for phishers lurking in the water. They’ll try to trick you. To get to the other side of the river, correctly answer questions on each platform.
How to play Reality River:
In Reality River, players use their mouse to click on the lit hexagonal pads to see the answers to the questions. Once they’ve read the options, they can select what they think is the right answer by double clicking it with their mouse. Most questions have three answers to choose from, but some have only 2.
Kids can try answering the question as many times as they can and if they get stuck, windows pop up to provide assistance.
Here are some of the questions that test kids’ knowledge through Reality River:
- Your pal shows you a weird email he got from you with a link to open some kind of document- but you never sent it.
- Someone asks you a personal question that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- A fellow gamer offers to make a trade that would be amazing for your score. They ask for your private account info to make it happen.
Mindful Mountain: Share with Care
The mountainous town center of Interland is a place where everyone mingles and crosses paths. But you must be very intentional about what you share and with whom…Information travels at the speed of light and there’s an oversharer among the Internauts you know. Bounce each post off the mirrors to get it to the right Internaut.
How to play Mindful Mountain:
Mindful Mountain is all about who it’s ok to share content with and lets kids direct information to various individuals or the trash by moving laser beams and mirrors.
The laser beam unit is moved using the arrow keys on the keyboard and activated by clicking on it with the mouse so the character can jump on it to turn it on. Kids will have to use their knowledge of angles to place the laser in the right row but they also get as many tries as needed to direct the laser beam to its intended target.
Here are scenarios about sharing kids encounter in Mindful Mountain to get them thinking about when it’s ok to share and who it’s ok to share with:
- A live video from your class field trip
- Juicy rumor about someone from another class
- Petition to help your school’s environmental club
Tower of Treasure: Secure Your Secrets
The Tower of Treasure is a fortress where you can store your valuables. Outrun the hackers or they will steal your messages and identity. Start by grabbing your messages and emails containing your private stuff and store them safely in the tower.
How to play Tower of Treasure:
Using the arrow keys on the keyboard, kids have to run and jump through the land. Hitting obstacles will cause the hackers to steal their messages and private information with a gleeful cackle.
Arrive at the Tower of Treasure and protect digital information from the hackers using strong passwords. There are 3 different levels for this game and is the easiest game for the youngest ages to play due to easy manipulation of the Interland character and limited reading throughout the game, especially compared to other games.
Why Interland Helps Reinforce Digital Citizenship Lessons
The four games that are part of Interland are designed to be played at any time and in any order.As kids navigate Kind Kingdom, Reality River, Mindful Mountain, and Tower of Treasure their quest to deny hackers, sink phishers, one-up cyberbullies and outsmart over sharers helps them learn what it takes to become Internet Awesome.
Games align beautifully with Google’s free Be Internet Awesome curriculum that’s great for classrooms, home schooling families, and also parents who want to create conversations with their kids about being nice on and offline. Interland and Be Internet Awesome reinforce key values that essential to being a responsible digital citizen that include:
- 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
About Be Internet Awesome
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.
The It’s Cool to Be Kind curriculum is available for free through Google’s Be Internet Awesome. It consists of five areas and throughout this month, I’ve worked with Google to highlight themes that correspond to the above values.
Each week I’ve covered a different theme and here’s a look at past posts that I hope will help create a kinder world online and off!
- How Google Be Internet Awesome Teaches Kids It’s Cool to Be Kind
- 6 Questions Parents Need to Ask Kids to Reinforce Kindness in the Digital World as a way to teach them how to treat others how you’d like to be treated, both online and IRL
- 3 Simple, Positive Actions to Teach Tweens to Combat Bullying
- How I Taught My Tween to Be an Upstander
- How to Talk to Kids When They See Adults Being Unkind
- How Kids Can Play Their Way Through Interland to Learn Digital Citizenship (TODAY!)
For more information, about Be Internet Awesome by Google:
- Visit co/BeInternetAwesome.
- Play Interland with your kids to put your kindness skills to the test at co/KindKingdom.
- Share Be Internet Awesome’s online curriculum with your kids’ teachers so they can introduce these activities in the classroom to help disempower bullying behavior and encourage healthy, productive interactions.
This post is sponsored by Google and Be Internet Awesome but all opinions are my own.