Tag Archives: families

Teaming up with partners to make the internet safer for kids

Editor’s note: Tomorrow is Safer Internet Day, and we’ll be talking about it all week with a collection of posts from teams around Google.

A year and a half ago, we launched the Be Internet Awesome program to help kids be safe, confident explorers of the online world. We built a little something for everyone: a curriculum for teachers, resources for parents and an adventure-packed online game for kids. And we couldn’t have done it without help from partners like the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), National PTA, the David's Legacy Foundation, and Disney’s Wreck It Ralph film “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”

This year’s Safer Internet Day theme is "Together for a better internet." That's something we can really get behind—joining forces with other organizations to help make the internet safer for everyone, especially younger kids. We’re kicking off a week of announcements, starting in San Antonio with the Be Internet Awesome adventure, a bilingual interactive space designed with hands-on activities to help kids and families learn the fundamental lessons of online safety and citizenship.

BIAsa

There are also a bunch of new updates to the Be Internet Awesome program, including:

  • A partnership with the David’s Legacy Foundation to create a program empowering teens to mentor and teach younger kids that it’s cool to be kind online (launching later this year)
  • The launch of Be Internet Awesome in France tomorrow as “Les Super-héros du Net”
  • Teaming up with the Walt Disney Animation Studios film Ralph Breaks the Internet  (recently nominated for an Academy Award©) to encourage more families to practice online safety and digital citizenship with Wreck It Ralph
  • A Be Internet Awesome guide and set of tips designed specifically to help parents foster a conversation with their kids about using the Internet safely

Working with the community to help kids stay safe online

Today in San Antonio, we hosted a panel with our partners to discuss our latest research, conducted with 2,000 parents and 1,000 teachers in the US, to better understand how they view internet safety for kids. We’re sharing the results today—here are a few themes from the panel that stood out:

Cyberbullying is a rising concern in schools

This year, cyberbullying rose to the number one online safety concern for teachers (up from number four last year). Maurine Molak, co-founder of the David’s Legacy foundation, said the first step to reducing cyberbullying is to help kids understand that if you wouldn’t say something in real life, you shouldn’t say it online. Through her work raising awareness and support for anti-cyberbullying legislation, she has observed that teens are often the most influential teachers, because younger kids look up to them.

The online safety conversation needs to start early

Our survey found that parents, on average, said that online safety education should begin when their kids are eight years old. Erin McCowey, who joined us from FOSI, noted that it might be a good idea to start even earlier. While the average kid gets a mobile phone by age eight, the average age for getting a tablet is age six. That’s why FOSI recommends that parents talk to their kids about online safety early and often in their seven steps to good digital parenting.

Teachers and parents need to work together

83 percent of teachers feel they need more resources to teach online safety in the classroom. And in addition to feeling ill-equipped, 87 percent wish parents were more involved when it comes to keeping their kids safe online. Leslie Boggs, President-Elect of National PTA, discussed their PTA Connected program, which encourages conversations about online safety between parents and teachers. As part of that effort, Google and the National PTA partnered earlier this year to facilitate 200 online safety workshops nationwide, providing grants and kits to help parents teach one another about these topics.

A week of online safety goodness

Check in tomorrow as we’ll be sharing a set of security tips that can help you and your whole family stay safer online, and stay tuned throughout the week as we’ll be sharing more about what we do to keep everyone safe online.

Draw a line in the snow: using tech with kids around the holidays

In just a few days, most kids will be out of school for the holiday break. And while you and your family might be building snowmen and hanging out by the fire, the extra free time means your kids will also be spending more time on their devices. I chatted with Stephen Balkham at the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and the two of us came up with some tips for striking a good balance with technology this time of year.


Stephen: Start winter vacation with a tech conversation

Just like you might sit down and plan out where you’re going over the holidays,  you can set a game plan for how you and your family will use technology. Set expectations with your kids for how much screen time is appropriate each day, when screens are okay, and what kinds of things you want them to be doing on their device. Don’t forget to set restrictions for yourself as well–the best way to get your kids to use their devices appropriately is to model how to be a good digital citizen yourself.


Joseph: Turn screen time into family time

Screen time can be a really positive thing for your kids if you explore with them and bond over the things they like. Sometimes it can be tough to get a read on what your kids are into these days. The Family Link app (available for kids with Android and  Chromebook devices) lets you set digital ground rules for your kids as they learn, play and explore online. Check out the app activity card to see what they’re interested in, and use it to strike up a conversation. Try downloading some of the apps they like and playing with them. Let them teach you a thing or two about how to play the games they like—you might feel silly, but it’s worth the cool points. 

Stephen: Use tech to explore fun and educational things to do over the break

With the extra time off school and work, use the technology in your pocket to research, plan and explore new activities in your area. Do some research to see if the zoo or a local museum is doing anything special for the holidays. Using technology during your break doesn't have to be for entertainment—it can help you find educational experiences for your kids as well.


Joseph: Find teacher-recommended content for your child’s new favorite device

If your child is getting a new device to play with this holiday season, you’re probably already thinking about what apps they’ll use. To encourage your kids to use tech that will help them learn, we’re adding a host of new apps to our teacher-recommended content card in Family Link.
FL2

The app recommendation card is currently only available to parents using Android phones. Visit our help center to learn more about how to share suggested apps with your kids.

Check out FOSI’s advice on Good Digital Parenting for more tips on how to confidently navigate the online world with your kids. To learn more about Family Link and how it can help encourage healthy digital habits for your kids all year round, visit our website.

Helping parents have the tech talk with their kids

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.

To learn more about Google’s Be Internet Awesome program, visit our website in English or Spanish, and share the Interland game with your kids.

As my son would say, TTYL.

Helping children in the Arab world be safe online explorers

Be Internet Awesome—our digital safety and citizenship program for children—is now available to more than 400 million Arabic speakers as Abtal Al Internet. The program is designed in a way that simplifies the world of internet safety and digital citizenship in a language children feel comfortable with. Developed in collaboration with online safety experts like the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and ConnectSafely, the program offers tools for parents and educators so everyone has the tools they need to help children be safer online.

A’alam Al Internet - our digital safety game for children

“A’alam Al Internet”—our digital safety game for children

We surveyed more than 200 teachers in the Arab world to learn about their experience with online safety in the classroom. We found that 98 percent of teachers believe that online safety should be part of the curriculum, and one in three teachers reported that they had witnessed an online safety incident (sharing personal information or cyberbullying, for example) in their school. However, 75 percent of teachers said they don’t have the necessary resources to teach online safety to their students.

We hope that by making Be Internet Awesome’s classroom curriculum available in Arabic, we can give these educators the tools and methods they need to teach digital safety fundamentals. We’re excited to give children in Arabic-speaking communities and elsewhere in the world more access to the learning opportunities online.

Helping more families set digital ground rules with Family Link

Parents constantly tell us that they want their kids to experience the best of what tech has to offer–while also developing a healthy relationship with technology. Giving parents the tools they need to make the choices that are right for their families is critical, and we take our role here very seriously. Last year we launched the Family Link app to help parents stay in the loop while their kids are using Android devices. Family Link helps parents keep an eye on screen time, manage the apps their kids can use, and more. Over the coming days, we’ll make Family Link available to more families, on more devices, and in nearly every country in the world. 

Family Link can now help parents with teens manage technology

Family Link originally launched for kids under-13, but we’ve heard overwhelmingly from parents that the app is still useful as their kids enter their teen years. This week, parents around the world will be able to use Family Link to supervise their teen’s existing Google Account for the first time (see applicable age for a teen in your country). There are some differences when supervising a teen’s account with Family Link. For example, teens are free to turn off supervision if they choose to, but we let parents know. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual family to have a conversation and decide what’s right for them.

Better Chromebook support for kids and teens

The need for supervision doesn’t end with mobile devices. Now, Family Link is available for Chromebook for kids and teens, allowing parents to manage website restrictions and account settings for their child from their device. Soon, parents will also be able to set screen time limits and manage the apps their child can use on Chromebooks.

Continuing to grow together

With more parents in more places able to use Family Link, we want to hear your thoughts on how we’re doing. If you want to share your ideas with us, just open the Family Link app, click the menu in the top left corner and tap “Help and feedback.”

Source: Android


Project Fi now works for your whole family

We introduced group plans on Project Fi as an easy way to share your phone plan with friends and family, and now you can finally include the whole family. Starting today, you can add your children under 13 to your Project Fi group plan using a Google Account managed with Family Link. When you add a child to your plan, you’ll both enjoy the Project Fi features you know and love—like easy data alerts, seamless switching between networks, and automatic connection to free Wi-Fi hotspots—in addition to the features already available in the Family Link app that you can use to set digital ground rules that work for your family.

Manage your child’s phone service with Project Fi

One of parents’ top concerns is keeping an eye on their children’s data usage. With Project Fi, you can easily manage your child’s data usage and set data alerts for you and your child to help them understand how much data they’ve used each month.

group plan fi

Set digital ground rules for your child with Family Link

With the free Family Link app, you’ll be able to easily manage your child’s apps, keep an eye on their screen time, and remotely lock your child’s phone when it’s time to put devices away. You’ll also be able to manage certain device and account settings for your child, such as content filters in Chrome, Search, and other Google services.
family link fi

Ready to set your child up with Project Fi? Create an account on Family Link, add your child to your Project Fi group plan, and pick a Fi-friendly phone—whether it’s your old phone or a new one like the budget-friendly moto g6—to get started.

Bringing online safety education programs to UK schools

At Google, we believe in technology's ability to unlock creativity and create opportunity, but it’s our duty to equip our users with the tools and resources to make safe choices online. 

Last year, we surveyed more than 200 teachers in the UK to learn about their experience with online safety in the classroom. We found that teachers believe children should start learning about online safety at age seven, and 99% of the teachers we spoke to felt that online safety should be part of the curriculum. More than one in three teachers also reported that they’d witnessed an online safety incident (sharing personal information or cyberbullying, for example) in their classroom.

Global teachers survey_infographic.jpg

However, the majority of the teachers we spoke to said they didn't feel they had the necessary resources to teach online safety to their students.

To help teachers empower their students to navigate the online world safely, today we’re launching our Be Internet Legends and Be Internet Citizens educational programs. We’ll visit primary and secondary schools across the UK where we’ll train 60,000 young people face-to-face through assemblies and workshops, and aim to reach one million young people through our free training resources created for teachers and youth workers. Both programs have been awarded the Quality Mark of accreditation by the PSHE Association, the national body for Personal, Social and Health Education in the UK.

Be Internet Legends

In partnership with family internet safety experts at Parent Zone, we created the Be Internet Legends program for Key Stage 2 primary school students to help them be safe, confident explorers of the online world. And UK primary school teachers can download or order their free Be Internet Legends teaching resources packs to bring the program to their classrooms. Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parent Zone says, “We’re delighted to be working with Google on Be Internet Legends because we know how important it is to provide children with the knowledge they need to stay safe online and we have to inspire them to want to act on that knowledge.”

Introducing Be Internet Legends

Be Internet Citizens

Be Internet Citizens, which is part of YouTube Creators For Change, teaches 13-15 year olds media literacy, critical thinking and digital citizenship with the aim of encouraging them to have a positive voice online. Created in partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), the program empowers children to produce online content to express their identities, share their stories, make social impact, and bring communities together. “We’re incredibly excited to be working with Google to scale Be Internet Citizens in 2018,” says ISD CEO Sasha Havlicek. “As online spaces play an increasingly vital role in our social, cultural and political lives, it is vital young people feel confident to make their voices heard, stay safe and play a positive role as digital citizens.”

Starting next week, our teams are excited to hit the road visiting schools across the UK.

Resources for families to make choices about online safety

When I was a kid, my family couldn’t afford a computer, so I’d only get to use one in my father’s office, for a few minutes at a time. When I was a little older, we got a computer at school—one computer, for the entire school—and I was able to spend a bit more time with a PC.


Fast forward to 2018, my daughter is walking around her middle school with a computer in her pocket that enables her to connect to the internet and use apps at any time. Even as a parent at a tech company, it’s hard to believe that this has become the norm: Most kids get a smartphone by the time they are 10 years old, and more than 77 percent of kids 6-12 years old are using them on a weekly basis.


The opportunity for kids to get help with math homework, listen to any song, or video chat with their grandparents at any time is amazing. But technology presents new challenges for parents, and it's important that they're equipped with resources to tackle them effectively.


Today is Safer Internet Day, and this year’s theme is a call to action to create a better internet for the youngest users. Here are some of the resources we’ve developed over the years that do just that.


Be Internet Awesome

Be Internet Awesome is a program—developed in collaboration with online safety experts like the Family Online Safety Institute, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and ConnectSafely—that teaches kids how to be safer, more confident explorers of the online world.


Whether they’re playing Interland, our interactive online game, or learning from educators that are applying our lesson plans in their classrooms, Be Internet Awesome aims to help kids be thoughtful about what they share, identify phishing and other scams, protect their personal information, and be respectful of their peers.


One of the program’s most important pillars is: “When in doubt, talk it out.” Making sure that kids can talk about these new issues with a trusted adult—like a parent or teacher—is critical as they’re learning to navigate the web safely.


Family Link

It’s hard to balance giving kids the freedom to explore the internet, while guiding their experience. Family Linkcan help parents stay in the loop as their kid begins using their first mobile device. Parents can create a Google Account for their kid that's much like their own—and do things like manage apps, keep an eye on screen time, and set a bedtime for their kid's device.


Google Wifi

We’ve also built family-friendly controls into Google Wifi. Site Blocking, which uses the best of SafeSearch, enables parents to block access to more than 8 million non-kid-friendly websites on any device in the home—all with a few taps in the Google Wifi app. And to help you manage screen time, Google Wifi has a helpful feature where you can pause the Wi-Fi when it’s time to sit down for dinner or wind down for bed.


We’ve come a long way since I was using my dad’s computer in his office, and in the years ahead, technology will only become a more central part of our lives. We’re committed to building tools and designing programs that enable parents to provide a safer and inspiring experience for their kids online.

Source: Education


Family fun with your Google Assistant on Google Home and phones

“Ok Google, what can you do for families?”

Lots! The Google Assistant now has more than 50 new games, activities and stories designed for families with kids. Now you can learn, play and imagine together—available today in the U.S. with the Assistant on Google Home, other smart speakers and eligible phones.

Monday musical chairs? Tuesday night trivia? Friday family freeze dance (it’s even Halloween-themed!)? Your Assistant has activities to keep everyone entertained. Talking to your Assistant (instead of staring at a screen) is an easy way to be there, in the room, spending time with loved ones. So whether you're at home on a rainy day or on a road trip, your Assistant can help you learn and have fun as a family.

Assistant for Families + Kids

Below are some things you can ask—just start with “Ok Google.”

Learn 📖

  • “Let’s learn”
  • "Play space trivia”
  • “Talk to Everyday Heroes”
  • “Help me with my homework”

Play 👯

  • “Let’s play a game”
  • “Play Mickey Mouse Adventure”
  • “Talk to What’s My Justice League Super Hero?”
  • “Play Sports Illustrated Kids Trivia”

Imagine 🌎

  • “Tell me a story”
  • “Tell me the story of The-Not-So-Scaredy cat”
  • “Play Strangest Day Ever”
  • "Play Jungle Adventure"

The new activities are rolling out today so you can go on a family adventure together. With their parent's permission, children under 13 can also have their own personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link. Family Link helps parents manage their child’s Google Account while they explore. And with Voice Match, your family can train the Assistant to recognize who’s speaking, up to six voices.

So round up your family and say the magic words— “Ok Google, I want to do something fun” or “Ok Google, Abracadabra”—to unlock a world of fun!

Help keep kids safe online with Site Blocking from Google Wifi

Being a parent in today’s connected world can be tough. You want to give your kids the ability to learn and explore across the digital universe, but worry they might stumble upon inappropriate content along the way.


With Site Blocking—the latest addition to Google Wifi's family controls—we're removing some of the worry. Site Blocking allows you to block access to more than 8 million non-kid-friendly websites websites on any device in your home—all with a few taps in the Google Wifi app.

wifi site blocking

Site Blocking uses the best of Google’s SafeSearch technology to protect your family. SafeSearch was created in 2009 to help filter explicit content from your Google Search results, and now we’ve worked with the SafeSearch team to apply some of their technology to Google Wifi. Because SafeSearch is constantly crawling the web for new sites, the list of explicit sites blocked by Wifi’s family controls will automatically be updated in real time.


Site Blocking joins an existing set of Family Wi-Fi controls and will be available over the next day to all Google Wifi users around the world—just open the Google Wifi app to get started. Peace of mind is only a few taps away.