Hopefully, you’re aware of how important cybersecurity is today—if not, make sure you come back to our blog often for more information on that. The Internet, for all its benefits, can easily be the source of serious threats. With today’s youth growing more connected, these threats can easily target them… making it all the more important to start teaching cybersecurity awareness and best practices early.
Let’s examine the platform that Google has provided through its Be Internet Awesome initiative.
What Does “Be Internet Awesome” Mean?
Be Internet Awesome is designed to help educate kids about safe Internet browsing practices so they are, to quote the website, “prepared to make smart decisions.” The idea is that, by teaching digital citizenship—a term that describes the use of technology in a responsible and effective way to empower oneself—today’s children will be ready to securely work, play, and live in what is sure to be an even more online world.
Frankly, this is a smart idea when you consider the struggles we all have with security nowadays. One of the biggest challenges that any cybersecurity initiative faces is that it feels like an added step (or in other words, an inconvenience) when it is actually an essential one. By framing what is really a person’s introduction to the Internet in terms of security, you change the paradigm by making security the default route to take.
Google has made an effort to do so by creating the Be Internet Awesome curriculum, in partnership with iKeepSafe, ConnectSafely, and the Family Online Safety Institute.
How Does “Be Internet Awesome” Work?
Be Internet Awesome provides what they call “The Internet Code of Awesome” that breaks down a few best practices in terms of Internet security… or, as the program puts it, “the fundamentals.” These fundamentals are as follows:
- Share with Care, which teaches children to think through what kind of things they are posting in terms of privacy and principle.
- Don’t Fall for Fake, which educates kids how to spot scam attempts and phishing lures.
- Secure Your Secrets, which goes over the password best practices that we’ve often preached.
- It’s Cool to Be Kind, which encourages a more positive Internet experience through the application of “treat others as you want to be treated.”
- When in Doubt, Talk It Out, which establishes that the adults in their life are there to help them work through things they may stumble across despite these practices.
These five tenets establish the behaviors that can lead to a safer Internet experience for life, and are consistently reinforced through the different tools and resources that Be Internet Awesome provides.
Kids—or, to be fair, people of all ages, really—react well to gamified content. Therefore, it makes sense that Google would choose to reinforce these lessons through gameplay. Interland is a quiz-style adventure that lets users progress through animated landscapes by correctly answering multiple choice questions, occasionally upping the ante with timed countdowns. Along the way, the user learns important vocabulary for any modern user and has important habits reinforced. Each “island,” once completed, provides a successful user with a PDF certificate available for download.
The entire experience requires no login, by the way, meaning that no progress is saved outside of the downloaded PDF. We argue that this is a good thing, as it makes each “island” infinitely repeatable until a lesson sticks—and still leaves it available as a refresher course.
Be Internet Awesome also includes a downloadable curriculum for educators to follow, filled with activities and other resources to help reinforce the aforementioned fundamentals. According to the curriculum, it was created for use with kids in anywhere from second to sixth grade, but it also encourages educators to adjust the lessons to match any grade level. While definitely written for an educator by profession, even these can potentially be useful for the parent or guardian doing their best to instill positive online behaviors and habits.
Hopefully, we’ll see more efforts like Be Internet Awesome come about, as Internet security really is an important life skill. We encourage you to check it out and share it with your team and friends. It may be meant for kids, but some of the lessons in there certainly apply to business cybersecurity as well. The more people who are aware of the potential risks of the Internet, the better. Visit the website today at beinginternetawesome.withgoogle.com to see what it has to offer.
If you’d like some added assistance with your business’ cybersecurity right now, we can help with that as well. Give us a call at 651-234-0895 to learn more about the security services we can provide.