Google developed a school to help kids fight against hacking

Google developed a school to help kids fight against hacking

Google is launching an educational program and it designed to teach kids about phishing, passwords, internet harassment, and some other internet safety issues. It's Called “Be Internet Awesome,” it includes a classroom curriculum and a video game called Interland.

It was developed with help from teachers, videographers, and internet safety and literacy organizations, and the resources are available online for free. It includes sections on how to limit sharing your personal information with people online. avoid falling for phishing or scams attacks, creating strong passwords and avoid negative behavior online.

Google said that the program is compliant with International Society for Technology in Education standards, awarded to programs that promote a range of tech-savvy skills.

In this case, that happens through a range of quizzes, role-playing activities, and other abstract exercises. For the “Share with Care” module, students look at a made-up social media profile and cross out information that a parent, employer, or future self might look poorly upon. In “Don’t Fall for Fake,” they decide whether a series of webpages and emails look real or fake. And “It’s Cool to be Kind” urges kids to avoid responding or reacting to hurtful messages, as well as block and report bullies.

Be Internet Awesome.

Interland, the accompanying video game, seems less like a training tool and more like a sweetener that could get students interested in the material. “Mindful Mountain,” for example, turns the process of sharing specific posts with the right people into a spatial puzzle. (It also works as a grim commentary on how opaque social network privacy settings can be, although that’s never mentioned.) Players promote positivity in a platforming game by tossing out friendly emoticons and hitting the “block” button to trap trolls. The password security game is a Temple Run-style endless runner about collecting letters and symbols.

Interland educational video game, This is only the latest in Google’s string of educational programs, which range from promoting Chromebooks in the classroom to offering virtual reality field trips through Google Cardboard. (Interland also uses a low-poly aesthetic that will be familiar to Daydream VR users.)

Don't Wait, Go With  interland

As someone who’s not a trained educator, I can’t pass judgment on this curriculum. Everybody could stand to be a little more cautious about phishing, but anti-bullying programs, of which “Cool to be Kind” is a subset, vary in effectiveness. Even if this is effective for teaching students the basic principles of internet use, we don’t know how well it will translate into real-world social media use. But at the very least, it’s a non-alarmist take on internet safety — even if I might rather teach my kid about hacking with the Mr. Robot game.

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