Thanks to Google’s Be Internet Awesome program, we can teach our kids to be safe and smart online in a fun, educational and interactive way! This post was sponsored, but the opinions and text are my own.
We all could benefit from having more kindness around us. Whether you’re showing kindness to a stranger or using kind words on the internet to make someone feel better, every act of kindness you do, no matter how small, can make a lot of difference in someone’s life. In fact, studies have shown that we feel happier when we perform acts of kindness.
Sadly, we see more bullying happening around us now rather than acts of kindness. As a mom of three boys, I am concerned about the stories I hear about children and adults being bullied – both in person and online.
Here are some facts about bullying that may surprise you:
- 28%of students have experienced bullying personally.
- 71%of students have witnessed bullying directly.
- Only 20% – 30%of students notify adults about bullying.
- Over 50%of parents are concerned about their child being bullied.
OCTOBER IS NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and I’m honored to participate in Google’s “Be Internet Awesome” movement. Throughout the month of October, Be Internet Awesome will spread positive messages across their communications to emphasize that the Golden Rule of “treating others as you’d like to be treated” is just as important online as it is “IRL” (In Real Life).
People talk about how the internet is bad for everyone and I disagree. The internet can be a wonderful place to learn about new and valuable things and a way to interact or socialize with others, especially when the comments, conversations, and content are positive. But it’s when those interactions and conversations become negative that it creates problems for the people involved and can sometimes escalate into bullying.
ABOUT BE INTERNET AWESOME
Google created the free multi-faceted Be Internet Awesome program as a tool to teach kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.
The program is available in English and Spanish and consists of an ISTE standards aligned curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom, ready-made Pear Decks for each lesson, and an adventure-packed online game called Interland that focuses on digital safety and citizenship. I perused the website and I love all the informative and free resources that are available for educators and parents like myself!
The Be Internet Awesome curriculum teaches and focuses on five areas of Internet awesomeness:
- SMART: Where we learn to share with care
- ALERT: Where we learn not to fall for fake
- STRONG: Where we learn how to secure Our digital stuff
- KIND: Where we learn that itʼs cool to be kind
- BRAVE: Where we learn that, when in doubt, we talk it out
TIPS FOR DISCUSSING HOW TO BE INTERNET KIND WITH YOUR FAMILY
The Internet is a great tool for communicating something good or something bad—kindness or cruelty. As a family, we can help our kids apply the concept of “treat others as you’d want to be treated,” helping their friends, and disempowering drama and cyberbullying. Practicing respect, kindness and positivity online startrs within your home.
Here are some things you can do as a family to teach and encourage our kids to be “internet kind”:
1. Be clear on what kinds of actions and behavior toward others are important to your family and how we treat other people “in our family.” The next step is to think about what that looks like in digital forms: texts, posts, comments, photos, videos, etc.
- Define what being positive means to your family.
- Understand what positivity looks like and how to express it online and on devices.
- Identify situations where it’s better to wait to communicate face-to-face with someone than to text or post—and when to ask a parent or older sibling for help.
2. Be reminded at all times that behind every username and avatar thereʼs a real person with real feelings, and we should treat them as we would want to be treated. When bullying or other mean behavior happens, most of the time there are four types of people involved:
- Thereʼs the aggressor, or person(s) doing the bullying.
- Thereʼs also someone being bullied – the target.
- There are witnesses to what’s going on, usually called bystanders.
- There are witnesses to what’s going on who try to positively intervene, often called upstanders.
3. Teach your kids things what they can do if they are the target of bullying or other bad behavior online. They can choose to not respond, block the person, and/or report the bully to you as his/her parent, a teacher, a sibling, or someone else they trust.
4. Encourage your kids not to be just “bystanders” by not trying to stop the bullying or helping the target. They can choose to be an “Upstander” by deciding not to support mean behavior and standing up for kindness and positivity.
A little positivity can go a long way online. It can keep negativity from spreading and turning into cruelty and harm. As parents, we have the ability to help encourage our kids to be “Upstanders” and help promote positivity at home, school, and online.
If you’re a parent, I encourage you to learn more and become a part of the Be Internet Awesome movement. Explore all the free and helpful resources available to help your kids to stay safe and smart online and then play Interland with your kids and put your kindness skills to the test! Also, tell your kids’ teachers about the online curriculum on Be Internet Awesome so they can introduce these activities in the classroom.
I hope that this post about Be Internet Awesome and Teaching Kids To Show Kindness Online has inspired you to make a difference not only in your kids’ life, but also to others around you. We can commit to help stop bullying and we can begin today!
What do you think about Google’s Be Internet Awesome program? Tell me in the comments!