Internet Heroes is a program to help children learn basic digital skills, as well as on-line safety and security
As we have gotten used of late, we will be staying on-line. This time we are celebrating a new idea launched by Google in Romania, Internet Heroes, a program helping children learn basic digital skills, as well as on-line safety and security. The program has its own page, https://g.co/EroiiInternetului.
We talked with Dan Oros, marketing director with Google, to find out what it is all about:
“Internet Heroes is a platform teaching children fundamental notions of digital citizenship and on-line security, so that they can explore the world with confidence. The platform is available to anyone, and is aimed at three main segments: first of all children, second of all parents, and third of all teachers. Our suggestions would be to explore these resources, because right now children spend more and more time on-line, and it is important to spend this time keeping in mind certain principles. This platform is based on some very important principles when you go on-line. For instance, to distribute information carefully, not let yourself be fooled by what you see on the Internet, to learn how to secure your secret information, how to select strong passwords. Another interesting principle is civility, the Internet is a strong amplifier for messages, and we want them to be positive. We want to teach children how to treat others the way they themselves would like to be treated. And, last but not least, to teach them that when you are in doubt, ask questions! This is particularly important for the kids that spend more time on the Internet now, so that they are open to going to their parents and teachers and ask questions when they are in doubt.”
And, because when we say Internet Heroes it makes us think of play, Dan Oros explained:
“This platform and the game it contains, an extremely interesting and interactive game, helps children explore the Internet safely. We can all be Internet heroes, as long as we abide by principles. On this platform you can find resources as a parent who wants to open a dialog on this topic with their children. Because in the end education begins at home, and the guide is available from there, Internet Heroes guide for families, where they are asked to create games and scenarios to discuss with the children at home. That is for parents, while for teachers we have a curriculum, organized like a school curriculum, with over 20 lessons, which can be taught in class, also on these topics. They are interactive, fun lessons that make learning a pleasure for kids.”
Children can test their skills in the game Interland, where they have to cross unharmed the Land of Treasures. The Land of Civility, the River of Reality, and the Mountain of Attention; after successfully completing each challenge, they get a diploma. Therefore feedback was not late in coming, as Dan Oros told us:
“We have extremely good feedback from the kids who have already started on this platform, but from teachers too. In addition to this platform, we have announced a grant worth 200,000 dollars for an ONG to run safety activities online for kids and parents. It is extremely important, especially during this period, and we are trying to help to the best of our ability.”
The Internet Heroes is free for all. Also, in cooperation with various partners, Google will hold all over the country seminars and training sessions for teachers in the area of on-line safety and security, protection of personal data and privacy, on-line behavior, and digital skills.
Dan Oros, Google marketing director, added:
“The platform is relevant for parents too, even though it has dedicated content for kids. That is because while parents are going with the kids through these activities, they themselves will learn a few interesting things, which they may not be familiar with. These are things such as how to have better passwords on the Internet, how to stay away from disinformation, or how to spot fake news, and so on.”
As opposed to other safety programs on-line, which emphasize threats and restrictions, Internet Heroes focuses on educating and providing skills for young people for everyone's good.