Google Interland: Be Internet Awesome
Google’s new programme encourages digital safety through an online game
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According to a recent report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, children around the world now access adult content via computers less than they did a year ago, but still end up opening websites with information about drugs, alcohol and tobacco more often. The report, covering the 12 months from May 2016 to April 2017, shows anonymized statistics from Kaspersky Lab solutions for Windows PCs and Macs with the parental control module switched on.
Google has now launched a new project that aims to help children make their “own smart decisions online”. The “Be Internet Awesome” programme, introduced by Google earlier this month to encourage digital safety, includes tools and resources for children, parents and teachers.
One of the highlights of the programme is Interland, an interactive, online game for children that is available for free. According to a company blog post by Pavni Diwanji, vice-president of engineering for kids and families at Google, “In this imaginary world of four lands, children combat hackers, phishers, oversharers and bullies, practising the skills they need to be good digital citizens.”
Interland is divided into four mini-games, each with its own theme of digital safety. Mindful Mountain focuses on the importance of sharing information online only with people you trust. In Tower Of Treasure, children learn to build strong passwords. Reality River teaches users to stay clear of phishers and fake people on the Web, while Kind Kingdom encourages children to be kind to others on the Internet and report cyber-bullies.
Apart from Interland, the programme comes with “The Internet Awesome Curriculum” for educators to teach digital safety in classrooms. Google has also collaborated with YouTube creators to formulate a video series—#BeInternetAwesome Challenge —that makes talking about online safety fun and accessible for parents and guardians.