Google has released a new educational tool designed to offer children and young people explore safely what the online world has to offer. Although initially developed within the USA for use with children in grades 3-5, the resource is likely to be useful for schools and settings to use with KS2 children and their parents and carers.
‘Interland’ invites children to ‘be internet awesome’ by learning how to conduct themselves in a ‘smart, positive and kind’ manner while online. ‘Be Internet Awesome’ focuses on five key lessons to help children navigate the online world with confidence:
- Be Internet Smart: Share with care
- Be Internet Alert: Don’t fall for fake
- Be Internet Strong: Secure your secrets
- Be Internet Kind: It’s cool to be kind
- Be Internet Brave: When in doubt, talk it out
The program includes a range of specific curriculum resources for children, teachers and parents, so everyone has the tools they need to learn and participate in the conversation.
To help children learn these lessons in a way that’s fun and immersive, Google have created an interactive, online game called ‘Interland‘. It’s free and web-based so it’s easily accessible and is in a format popular with young people. In this imaginary world of four lands, children will combat hackers, phishers, ‘oversharers’ and bullies, practicing the skills they need to be good digital citizens.
‘Interland’ and it’s supporting resources have been developed in collaboration with Online Safety advisory groups including the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and ConnectSafely,’
There is also a ‘Be Internet Awesome’ pledge for children to share with their parents and carers. If parents and carers are continuing the online safety conversation at home then this can encourage the entire family to engage safely online. Google have also teamed up with a group of YouTube creators, including John Green, the What’s Inside? Family and MinutePhysics, to launch the #BeInternetAwesome Challenge, a video series that makes talking about online safety fun and accessible.
We would encourage schools and settings to explore these resources and they may be helpful as part of an embedded and progressive whole school curriculum.