In real life (or IRL, as my son reminds me) I work hard to ensure my child is safe, confident, and kind. And whether he’s chatting with friends, doing homework or playing games, I want to make sure the same is true whenever he’s online. To make that happen, it’s up to me to have the right conversations and provide the right tools to guide him on making smart choices, no matter where he is.
However, parents often feel less tech savvy than their kids. That’s why, as part of October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness and National Bullying Prevention Month, we’re partnering with the National PTA and DonorsChoose.org on two new initiatives to help kids be safe and positive online. Our goal this year is to reach 5 million kids with Be Internet Awesome.
Helping parents teach their kids to make smart decisions online
Research shows us that parents want to teach their kids how to be safe online but are unsure how to get the conversation going. To help them, we created workshop kits so that parents can teach one another about how to spark productive discussions on digital safety and citizenship.
Each Be Internet Awesome kit is bilingual—English and Spanish—and includes:
- A Google Pixelbook to power the workshop
- A presentation developed in partnership with the Family Online Safety Institute including topics on online safety, digital citizenship, and tips and resources to create a positive digital experience for your family’s needs
- Family Guides to inspire co-learning at home about online reputation and social sharing, phishing and scams, privacy and security, cyberbullying and inappropriate content
- Posters for the school to remind students to Be Internet Awesome by being smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave
- A school banner as recognition for participating in Be Internet Awesome
In addition, we’ve partnered with the National PTA to award grants worth $1,000 to local PTAs in every state to help facilitate Be Internet Awesome workshops. Members interested in applying for one of the 200 workshop grants or a BIA kit can visit the national PTA site here. And later this fall, we are making the content from the kit (presentation and family guides) available digitally for everyone on the resources page of our website.
Supporting our teachers and their classrooms
Teachers often have a list of needs or a passion project they would love to bring to their students if only there was a little extra in the budget. So we’ve teamed up with DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit with a web platform that is part matchmaker, part Scholastic Fairy Godmother. Teachers post their school project wishes on the platform and people like you—or companies like us—find projects we’d love to sponsor.
With DonorsChoose.org, we’ve built a $1 million Classroom Rewards program to encourage and celebrate classroom achievement with Be Internet Awesome. Upon completion of the program, K-6 teachers can unlock a $100 credit towards their DonorsChoose.org project. Teachers can kick off the Be Internet Awesome lessons with one called #ItsCoolToBeKind. Check out the details on DonorsChoose.
As my son would say, TTYL.