Internet etiquette and safety can be hard to figure out as an adult and even more confusing as a child getting their feet wet with the web. Since last year, Google has partnered with a handful of digital-safety groups to address this issue head on with its Be Internet Awesome campaign.
To mark National Cybersecurity Awareness and National Bullying Prevention Month, Google is taking the effort a step further, announcing yesterday that they were teaming up with the National Parent Teacher Association to create grants as well as toolkits designed specifically to address best practices for the internet.
Julianne Yi, the head of Google's Be Internet Awesome campaign, wrote in a blog post yesterday that many parents said they did not feel "tech savvy" enough to talk about internet safety with their kids and struggled to make sure their children were safe, respectful and respected while they interacted online.
"I work hard to ensure my child is safe, confident, and kind. And whether he's chatting with friends, doing homework or playing games, I want to make sure the same is true whenever he's online. To make that happen, it's up to me to have the right conversations and provide the right tools to guide him on making smart choices, no matter where he is," she wrote.
"Research shows us that parents want to teach their kids how to be safe online but are unsure how to get the conversation going. To help them, we created workshop kits so that parents can teach one another about how to spark productive discussions on digital safety and citizenship."
The bilingual kits come with a thorough presentation on online safety created by the Family Online Safety Institute, a Google Pixelbook, posters for the school about the Be Internet Awesome campaign, and a school banner recognizing the school's participation in the program.
The English and Spanish language kits also come with helpful guides on topics including online reputation and social sharing, phishing and scams, privacy and security, cyberbullying and inappropriate content.
"Our goal this year is to reach 5 million kids with Be Internet Awesome," Yi added. "In addition, we've partnered with the National PTA to award grants worth $1,000 to local PTAs in every state to help facilitate Be Internet Awesome workshops."
Curiously, Google is refusing to release the information in the kits publicly right now, instead asking those interested to apply for one of the 200 workshop grants or a kit for their school at the PTA website. Google said the content in the kits will eventually be released later this fall online on the Be Internet Awesome website. Google also told VentureBeat that they would give out free kits to other, more localized parent-teacher groups as well as work with NGOs to run "family workshops."
In addition to these kits and workshop materials, Google built a $1 million Classroom Rewards program with DonorsChoose.org so that local teachers can post things they need and get funding from any person or company. Yi described DonorsChoose.org as a nonprofit platform that is "part matchmaker, part Scholastic Fairy Godmother."
"Teachers post their school project wishes on the platform and people like you--or companies like us--find projects we'd love to sponsor," Yi wrote. "Upon completion of the program, K-6 teachers can unlock a $100 credit towards their DonorsChoose.org project. Teachers can kick off the Be Internet Awesome lessons with one called #ItsCoolToBeKind.
Google has worked hard to publicize its internet education efforts, even taking the time to create a video game last year called Interland that helped teach kids about internet safety.
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- Google is partnering with the National PTA to create and distribute kits that educate kids about how to stay safe and be respectful online.
- The kits cover a variety of topics but focus primarily on ways parents and children can use the internet while avoiding scams, fake information and potential abuse.
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