Google said today that it is upgrading and extending its Be Internet Awesome digital safety and citizenship programme, which is targeted at teaching school-aged children how to safely surf the internet.
According to Google, the curriculum, which was first presented four years ago, now covers 30 nations and millions of children. Google has added over a dozen new lessons for parents and educators in today’s update, covering topics such as online gaming, search engines, video consumption, online empathy, cyberbullying, and more.
The firm claims it hired the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire to assess its existing curriculum, which was last updated in 2019, when it introduced lessons aimed at teaching youngsters how to recognize misinformation and fake news.
The evaluation concluded that the programme aided youngsters in areas such as cyberbullying, online civility, and website security, but that it needed to be improved in other areas.
Google then revised their training materials in collaboration with internet safety specialists including Committee for Children and The Net Safety Collaborative. As a result, it now offers courses customized to certain age groups and grade levels, as well as a wider range of topics and family resources.
Online gaming, search engines, and video consumption are among the new courses, as are social-emotional learning courses geared at helping kids deal with cyberbullying and online abuse.
As part of an update to the program’s current media literacy resources, some of the new courses cover search media literacy â€” that is, knowing how to utilize search engines like Google and assessing the links and results it provides.
Other courses include topics such as online empathy, compassion, and what to do if you come across anything distressing or improper, such as cyberbullying.
Online gaming concepts are also woven into the new teachings, as today’s youngsters spend a lot of their time playing online games that frequently include opportunities to connect with other players in real time and communicate.
Here, youngsters are provided with options about how to check an online gamer’s identity â€” for example, are they actually another kid? The papers also go through what kind of personal information should not be shared with strangers on the internet.
The modified curriculum also directs parents to the newly created web center, families. Google, which provides a variety of advice and information about tools to assist families control their technology usage.
For example, Google recently upgraded its Family Link app, which allows parents to set limits on which applications and when they may be used, as well as monitor screen-time activity statistics. It also launched parental control tools on YouTube earlier this year, targeting at families with tweens and adolescents who are too old for a YouTube Kids account but not yet old enough for an unsupervised experience.
The new curriculum is now accessible on Google’s Be Internet Awesome website for parents, families, teachers, and educators.