Kids have been and are still staying online more and more often these days, especially during this pandemic crisis when children are forced to spend more time online due to online schooling. Children’s online safety is at risk now more than ever before. So how do you help the kids around you explore the online world in a safer manner?
PH youth at risk in the cyber world
Based on a 2020 study by the Digital Intelligence Institute, Google Philippines marketing head Gabby Roxas shared that while the Philippines is one of the youngest countries in Southeast Asia, we are also one of the most challenged countries when it comes to child online safety.
And it is because of these risks that Google saw the need to teach children how to explore the internet confidently and safely. That’s where Google’s Be Internet Awesome program comes in.
What is Be Internet Awesome?
Be Internet Awesome is Google’s free multifaceted program designed to teach kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and online safety. Particularly, it is focused on five important topics: how to be smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave on the internet. It contains several teaching materials and related resources that can help teach digital literacy concepts to children with the help of teachers and parents.
“The internet is a crucial part of everyday life. For kids and students, it opens up many opportunities to play, learn, and connect. However, it also exposes them to risks that adults face too. With Be Internet Awesome, we hope to help parents and educators in promoting and teaching digital responsibility inside and outside of the classroom–to raise the next generation of netizens who’s more smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave online,” said Bernadette Nacario, Country Director of Google Philippines.
Pilot run and launch
Google Philippines partnered the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement a pilot run of Be Internet Awesome in the Philippines to test it and gather feedback that could help improve the program further. The pilot run was conducted in more than 20 schools from across Antipolo, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, and Nueva Ecija.
“Educating students about digital responsibility is imperative and using Google’s Be Internet Awesome is an effective way to do this. We’d like to thank Google for launching an important program that will equip our teachers and parents with the accessible resources they need to teach digital citizenship. Coming from the success of the pilot run, this program holds great potential to educate more students nationwide. The Department of Education will continue to work closely with Google to potentially integrate Be Internet Awesome into the national curriculum so it can be formally taught in the classroom,” said Leonor Magtolis Briones, Secretary of the Department of Education.
“We will continue to work closely with the Department of Education and other partners from across sectors to bring Be Internet Awesome to more students and communities nationwide,” added Nacario
Through Be Internet Awesome, Google hopes to be of help to parents, teachers, and guardians in watching over kids exploring the internet in a safe, secure way. Google came up with five key lessons to teach children — or as they call it: “The Internet Code of Awesome.”
#1: Be Internet Smart
This key lesson teaches kids how to communicate responsibly, especially when both good and bad news travels quickly through the world wide web. This entails encouraging thoughtful sharing, creating guidelines on the appropriate kinds of communication, and keeping personal details private.
#2: Be Internet Alert
This key lesson teaches kids how to recognize the signs of a potential scam. Such a lesson is important when people and situations online aren’t always as they seem. It is essential for kids to learn how to discern properly between real and fake.
#3: Be Internet Strong
This key lesson teaches kids how to secure their privacy and safeguard valuable information. Such a lesson entails creating a strong password and switching it up regularly and across different accounts. This would help kids avoid damaging their devices, reputations, and relationships.
#4: Be Internet Kind
This key lesson teaches kids how to apply the concept of “treat others as you would like to be treated” to their actions online to create positive impact for others and disempowering bullying behavior. It entails respecting others’ privacy and differences, preventing the spread of harmful or fake news and messages, and taking action against mean-spirited or inappropriate behavior online.
#5: Be Internet Brave
This key lesson teaches kids perhaps one of the most important lessons they would need for any digital encounters: When kids come across something questionable, they should feel comfortable talking to a trusted adult.