Some people use the anonymity afforded by the internet to be jerks. Meanwhile, other people share too much personal information or get taken in by fake news. Google is looking to help the next generation be better at using the internet than we are, and it’s doing it with the “Be Internet Awesome” campaign. It’s a program that includes resources for parents and educators, and some games for kids. Well, they’re educational games, but that still counts.
Teachers can access a full curriculum created in partnership with the Internet Keep Safe Coalition. It includes exercises that teach kids to avoid phishing sites and keep their information private. For parents, Google has set up a YouTube video series that will help families talk about all these thorny issues.
So, that’s all well and good, but what about the game? It’s called Interland, and it’s made up of four different floating islands. Kids visit each one and play mini games that try to teach them a little something about safe and smart internet use. For example Mindful Mountain is a puzzle game about sharing and Reality River is a quiz about spotting scams and fake news.
You can check out the Be Internet Awesome landing page for links to all the resources. Google plans to continue developing the program over time. So, hopefully the internet users of tomorrow will be less terrible than the internet users of today.