Last summer Google launched a website dedicated to teaching internet safety for kids. The entire website is called Be Internet Awesome, and it has really great tips on how to teach your children to be safe on the internet. The website includes an online game called Interland with 4 different games your child can play that will help them make good choices when interacting with people online. The games teach about password creation, being kind to others online, who to share things with, and how to tell if something is real or fake (maybe a few parents should go through that game too…)
Tower of Treasure: How to Create a Secure Password
The Tower of Treasure game basically helps you to understand the components of a secure password and helps the child create one. The gameplay is similar to Temple Run where you just run ahead and collect as many letters, numbers, and symbols as you can. Once you reach the end you can create your password with the items you have collected. It will step you through how to make it secure. My only problem with it was that it encouraged you to start with a word, which is obviously easier to remember, but the most secure passwords are a random collection of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Kind Kingdom: Teaching Kids to Block or Report Abusers and Spread Kindness
This game is probably the easiest of the 4. You pass along little notes to the sad little internauts like a heart or a strong arm and make them all happy. When you encounter a bully, you can block them behind a wall by pressing a button or use a reporting tool to report their behavior (which will suck them up into a vortex). As I said, it doesn’t take a lot of thought but is pretty fun to watch the internauts go from sad to happy.
Mindful Mountain: Sharing Tips Focused on Internet Safety for Kids
The point of this game is to show kids how what they share can be replicated to others. It also teaches kids to share specific things with specific groups of people. For example, it will ask you to share your school dance information with friends, or a picture of your sister with family. It also shows you what to do with the content you don’t have permission to share, and things like your password and your parent’s credit card information. The game uses mirrors and geometry concepts to help you share with the right people. Once you think you have found the correct path, you hit send and see how many of the right people you can share your update with.
Reality River: How to tell if something is real or fake
While this one didn’t have as much of a gaming aspect as the others, it still had really great information. The answers were pretty tricky too. I was fooled by the responses at least once. You answer the questions to activate the next ice block to make your way across the river. If you get a question wrong you fall into the river and have to try the question again until you get it right. It will tell you why the answer was wrong. Some of the questions include things like “you see an ad for a free gaming system! What do you do?” Do you click on the link right away to grab that killer deal, or do you ignore it and move on? It definitely helps show kids exactly what kinds of scams they should be on the lookout for while browsing the internet.
Google Gets a Thumbs Up for this Internet Safety for Kids Online Game!
Overall the games are pretty fun to play. My son spent a good hour going through each of the Interland islands. I asked him questions about what he learned afterward and he definitely came back a bit more internet savvy than when he started. Click here to check it out!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com