I recently attended an event on behalf of Google and their Be Internet Awesome initiative in conjunction with Safer Internet Day on February 5th. The event was to bring focus on ways to teach kids to be safe online. Google set up an installation where anyone could come and bring kids to go through stations built around their pillars of Smart, Strong, Brave, Kind, and Alert.
The different stations had interactive boards and games that went through different scenarios that kids can encounter online and how best to deal with them. I really liked one where a text would come through and you could send love to another person who was battling bullies online and then blast the negative away. It helped teach that kids should support each other and help stand up to the bullies that can kids behind screens all too often.
There was another station where you had to choose a password and see if it was strong enough. I know I try and do a mix of upper and lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Having a stronger password will make it that much harder to be hacked.
There are times that we need interactive, visual reminders that no matter what age we are that we need to be conscious of what we post and do online. As a blogger, I think I have a tendency to over share sometimes and I have to learn to respect my kids privacy as well as my own.
Google has been working on a program to help teach online safety to kids and they have just released a family version of their curriculum to help parents know what they should be doing to help keep their kids safe online. One comment made at the event that I liked was to talk early and often about internet safety. I know my own kids have been getting on my iPad for years now even if it was just Netflix, I have tried to teach them that there are certain sites they are not allowed to go, even certain areas of Netflix that they are not to go to or movies to watch or YouTube channels. I want to keep them protected from inappropriate content as long as I can. They know to ask me before they play a movie they haven’t watched before or a website that isn’t already approved. I like that they know that the internet is not a free for all.
What are you doing to make sure that your kids are safe when they are on the internet? Have you talked to them about what to do when they encounter cyber bullies? Head over to the Be Internet Awesome website to get your family guide.