We have several parents on our team at Unlimited Exposure and we understand the value in ensuring that our children are making smart decisions online. As sons and daughters continue to explore and learn about the internet, it’s important for the experience to be a positive one. To make the most out of one’s time on the internet, there are a number of things to keep in mind and to discuss with one’s child.
Evidently, the biggest difference between the internet when we were growing up compared to the internet today is that children have it at their fingertips on a multitude of different devices. There’s the potential for influence, positive and negative. When online, children need to be encouraged to continue being as smart and kind as they are offline. A large part of learning about appropriate behaviour online has leaned on industry leaders to provide protection, encouragement, and assistance. Recently, Google launched its Be Internet Awesome initiative, encouraging digital safety and citizenship among all users of the internet.
Be Internet Awesome is divided into five key lessons that are designed to help kids navigate the internet safely and efficiently – ‘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’, and ‘Be Internet Brave; when in doubt, talk about it’.
For kids, this is a great opportunity to learn a little more about the internet and everything that’s out there. These lessons are embedded into an interactive online game known as ‘Interland’. Free and web-based, play from anywhere with an internet connection. Built across four unique works, kids learn how to overcome the influence of hackers, phishers, over-sharers, and bullies. It is the hope of Google to develop initiatives such as these to ultimately encourage good digital citizenship.
In addition to the Interland game, families are encouraged to take the Be Internet Awesome pledge and to sign their name. Being smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave online is key to learning how to navigate the corners of the internet. As we all continue to make the internet a safer place for children, there’s no doubt more work ahead for key brands to launch education-based initiatives.
Kids with the skills to successfully navigate the internet will be more likely to mitigate the risks of negative experiences online. There’s no doubt that this is an ongoing process as new technologies are always presenting themselves and with these come new challenges. ‘Be Internet Awesome’ is about knowing how to react to these new challenges, while having the most fun and most positive engagement possible.
At Unlimited Exposure, we more than support these efforts and would encourage all of our partners who are parents to check out the Be Internet Awesome initiative. As we continue moving into an increasingly tech-dominated world, it’s important for kids to know how to be good people online and to portray responsible behaviour. As parents ourselves, we’ve had conversations regarding digital safety and respect, ensuring that children know what is appropriate and expected.
The internet should not be a big, scary place for children. If anything, they should feel excited about it. There’s so much out there to learn, friends to connect with, and opportunity to have so many unique experiences. As parents, it’s our responsibility to make the internet a safe place to be.