Be Internet Awesome
I know in the past my posts regarding kids and their access to the internet has not been uplifting. So today I wanted to provide you with a great resource for preparing kids for the challenges of internet based communities. Google has put together this amazing resource for internet fluency titled Be Internet Awesome.
At this website, you can find a guide to help families discuss how to engage internet content and conversations in healthy and ethical ways. It includes scenarios that you can talk through with your kids and provides tips and guides for how and when to have these conversations so that they will be meaningful and remembered. If you do not feel particularly internet savvy, it can also broaden your awareness of what challenges your kids may run into. If you're not sure how to promote a culture of digital well-being, the section "Family Link Guide for Families" discusses ground rules, limit setting, monitoring, and why they are important.
The guide also provides additional resources including Connected Parenting, IKeepSafe, and Google Family Link. For all of you Apple folks out there still nervous about the way Apple suddenly removed parental control apps from the AppStore (here's the most recent update on that story), finding an all-in-one app that helps you monitor and reinforce your family's digital contract safely feels all the more important. Don't have a family agreement on media use in the home? This article has a great template and a lot of great resources. The Be Internet Awesome website also has quick reference sheets you can print and post in your home and at-home activities.
But wait! There's more! There's no question that social media and online gaming have serious impacts on our kids' mental health and anxiety. While having on-going conversations at home is the MOST important way to help your children navigate and build resilience, Google has also built an online game called Interland to help kids develop competency in identifying phishing schemes, savvy content evaluation, and internet safety strategies. While you are the primary force for helping your child develop a healthy relationship with technology, Interland can help them with the nuts and bolts skills of safely navigating technological space.
I hope this post provides you proactive, positive tools for introducing and managing the role of technology in your home.