This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Google in partnership with Forward Influence. The opinions and text are all mine.I am on a mission to raise empathetic and kind human beings. And I’m excited to partner with Google to share all about their free Be Internet Awesome program. I want to make sure that my kids are aware that they have the responsibility to leave this world a better place than they found it. Furthermore, I want them to feel comfortable and willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it. In a time when kids spend most of their time on mobile devices it’s so important to teach them to be safe, respectful and kind online.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and Google’s Be Internet Awesome free program provides families and teachers with the tools and information they need to help kids make the right choices to stay safe and be kind online. The program teaches kids to disempower online bullying and spread kindness and positivity online.
Growing up I experienced bullying and I know how bullying can mine your self-esteem and leave scars that we often carry into adulthood. I don’t want my kids to experience what I had to endure and that is why it’s so important for me to empower them with the knowledge and information they need to avoid online bullying.
Google’s Free Internet Awesome Program
The past couple of weeks we have been using Google’s free Be Internet Awesome program and resources to spark conversations about being safe and being kind online.
After discussing the meaning of being SMART, ALERT, STRONG, KIND and BRAVE online we played the Interland game. Interland is an online adventure game where kids can help their fellow Internauts combat badly behaved hackers, phishers, oversharers, and bullies. They can practice the skills they learned for being a good digital citizen in a fun and engaging way. My kids also started playing Kind Kingdom. This game was a great introduction to our conversations about kindness. The game is all about giving love and encouragement (in the form of hearts and likes) to others to be able to advance and win the game as opposed to fighting, destroying, etc. which is what most of the games online are about these days.
The Importance of Being Kind Online
I have found the Be Internet Awesome resources and lesson plans invaluable for teaching my kids how to be kind online. They are learning how to be respectful, not to overshare and how to stand up to bullies. We focused on being kind online and we got lots of ideas for different ways in which kids can intervene. The program provides scenarios and choices for being an upstander depending on what feels comfortable and safe for each child. My kids now feel empowered because they have the information they need to manage different situations online. As a result, they now know what to do if they are being harassed or see someone else being bullied. Furthermore, they have acquired the tools needed to recognize when someone is being a bully online. The Internet Awesome program has helped them understand the importance of being kind and spreading positivity online.
Why What You Say And How You Say It Is Important
One of the most valuable lessons we all learned was how to make good decisions when choosing what to say and how to deliver it. Here are some of the things we all learned, which are true both online and offline:
- Express feelings and opinions in positive, effective ways.
- Respond to negativity in constructive and civil ways.
- Make good decisions when choosing how and what to communicate – and whether to communicate at all.
- Identify situations when it’s better to wait to communicate face-to-face with a peer than to text them right away.
Reacting to something negative with something positive can lead to a more fun and interesting conversation – which is a lot better than working to clean up a mess created by an unkind comment.
The Family Link guide for parents was filled with great information. It provides actionable steps for limiting screen time and restricting the content your kids have access to. Another useful tool is the Internet Awesome printable contract. This helps families make a commitment of being kind online together.
Have conversations with your family about how to be Upstanders and promote positivity at home, school, and online. Learn more about how to Be Internet Awesome and tell your kids’ teachers about the online curriculum so they can introduce these activities in the classroom. Play Interland with your kids and put your kindness skills to the test. There’s no better way for kids to learn to be kind online than through practicing kindness in a fun way.
Because we are a bilingual family and my kids live and surf the internet in two languages. I find it really valuable that Google’s Be Internet Awesome program is also available in Spanish. Check out the resources and sign a Be Interent Awesome contract with your kids in English or Spanish (or both!).