With so many children and students picking up Chromebooks these last few months, I wanted to take some time to highlight something important. Google has an awesome initiative for helping kids be safe, confident explorers of the online world. Through Be Internet Awesome, they seek to educate children and students about the dangers they may face online as they set out into the world and how to make wise decisions when faced with them. With Interland, their web-based game, they do a great job of driving home pertinent safety information and your child can play it on any device!
Interland is a low-poly game with simple mini-games split into four Islands – Kind Kingdom, Reality River, Mindful Mountain and Tower of Treasure. The aim is to have fun while learning to be kind to others while online, avoid falling for phishing scams, being cautious about what information is shared and with whom, and learning to secure personal data and protect it on a variety of devices. Each ‘island’ has several gameplay styles which will take your child on a journey of learning and growth. A little help as parents and teachers never hurt, right?
I played and beat Interland with my son and he loved it! He found the mini-games fun and entertaining. Reality River was the most difficult island for him as it contained a quiz style progression with questions he hadn’t yet learned about. At the end of each island, you can get a certificate for being an internet strong ‘Internaut’, giving your child a sense of accomplishment. It can be downloaded as a PDF and printed off to place on their wall or the fridge!
Throughout the mini-games, achievements can be earned, spurring them along towards completion. Gamifying such an important aspect of our internet culture was a smart move on Google’s part and while Interland has been around for quite some time, I couldn’t really appreciate it much until I became a father. Be Internet Awesome provides loads of resources for parents, teachers and students alike and it’s a wonderful resource that I’ve been pulling from a lot lately. Made in partnership with experts in online safety – iKeepSafe, ConnectSafely and the Family Online Safety Institute – the website provides tips, a family guide, coloring books and much, much more. Parents and teachers should dive in headlong, take the Pledge and download the curriculum. I think that Interland is a great way to start a conversation with kids about online safety, especially as children spend more time indoors and on technology because of the pandemic. You can start playing the game by clicking below!