With the rise of phishing, malware and fake news, it can be hard for adults, let alone children, to identify what's safe and what's not. Parents can teach internet best practices, but companies like Google want to share the load. With its new project, Be Internet Awesome, the search giant has created a new program that helps young people make "smart decisions online." It includes a clever online learning game for kids, a 48-page curriculum for teachers and schools, and a video series for parents to watch alongside their children.
"Interland" is a puzzler that takes kids through four mini games. Tower of Treasure is designed to help teach younger internet users how to create strong passwords that keep them one step ahead of hackers and Reality River presents 10 multiple choice questions that help identify who and what to trust online. Kind Kingdom educates children on trolling and being nice on the internet, while Mindful Mountain highlights how important it is to share information only with people you trust.
Google teamed up with online safety organizations Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and ConnectSafely to create Be Internet Awesome. Thanks to this outside help, the company says its lesson plans, activities and worksheets meet the International Society for Technology in Education's Standards for Students.
As for the games, they're fun. Each one is geometric, bold, colorful and has a Monument Valley or Journey feel, making them much more interactive than many other online safety portals. While it's unlikely children will stumble across them on their own, Google has done what it can to make the program appealing to parents and teachers in the hope they'll be incentivized to pass those teachings along.