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!).
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13 thoughts on “Teaching Your Kids To Be Kind Online”
Such a great topic. My littlest are nearing the age of all of this. I try to teach them kindness. I have not delved into the world in the internet with them yet.
I hadn’t heard of this program but it is very important. I talk to my son about being kind all of the time. On the other hand, my daughter has special needs so we worry about people being kind to her. Thank you for sharing!
I think this does not only apply for kids but for adults alike. Always be kind whether online or not. Great tips!
Excellent post! I’m so glad you let other parents know this program and these options exist! Parents need all the help they can get to raise a compassionate caring child in a very tough world. Thanks for sharing!
This looks really good. I will bear it in mind when my three get old enough to be on the internet. They are also going to end up being bi-lingual as they are going to a Welsh medium school.
I really appreciate this post. My kids are getting older and more tech savvy so it’s only a matter of time before they want to start doing more online things. As of right now, my husband and I are saying no, they can’t go online, but there’s only so much we can do. Once they start to visit their friends or getting online access at school, it’s very important that we teach them to be kind.
Fortunately, my children do not sit much online, and if they are behind the PC or on a tablet … then I have a program that they can not open certain app without parental permission …. They can only play a game (no online games) of their own age. A often also educationally oriented.
What a great article – I’ve had to have several conversations with my son about how to talk to people online as he sent several emails lashing out at his father’s girlfriend. Thanks for sharing!
This is awesome! I’m sharing this with all of my friends with parents.
Love your post and I will definitely check the Be Internet Awesome program. I think we have this great responsibility to help our children to be as kind and generous in a society which runs to fast, also with the internet. I will check the links in the post.
Thanks so much for sharing!
With love by another bilingual family 🙂
I am bookmarking this site, for the future. My daughter is still very young and doesn’t do much online just yet. Mostly she just watches Youtube videos, because she’s only three. But I agree, it is so important to teach kids to be kind to one another. Not just online, but also in everyday life. Thanks for sharing this great post and so informative. I didn’t know that Google had a program dedicated to this cause, so wonderful. Just another reason why I love Google!
I have never heard of this program before but I think that it is wonderful and more people need to know about it. Kids can be really mean an it is so important to teach our kids to be kind..on and off the internet.
Many children need such a lesson. Many children are not kindnes at online communication.