Today more than yesterday, now more than ever, both our lives and our children’s lives are spent online. How will we choose to live there? How will we teach our children to live there? With kindness, I hope.
Because October is National Bullying Prevention Month, I thought today would be a good day to emphasize that the golden rule is just as important online as it is “IRL”, in real life. That’s why we need to encourage the spread of kindness everywhere. But how?
Thanks to the great folks at Google and the Forward Influence Network for making this post about kindness possible. As always, my thoughts, comments, and intention to spread kindness are my own.
I think we need to get back to the basics. Here are my thoughts:
3 Tips for Helping Kids Spread Kindness Both Online and IRL (in Real Life)
- Be Models: Observant and curious, kids learn from what they see, especially at home. If our kids see us spreading kindness, they will too.
- Be Communicators: If we communicate what it means to be good digital citizens, to use appropriate online behavior, to avoid behaviors that can be hurtful to themselves, their friends, or others online, then our kids will approach the online world with more confidence, common sense, and kindness.
- Be Good Listeners: As parents, we talk to our kids continuously, guiding them, protecting them, teaching them. We also need to stop and listen to them. If we listen more, they will too. As a bonus, they might be more open to sharing their worries, concerns, suggestions, wisdom and kindness with us. But, beyond that, they will likely become better listeners online as well, and I think we all need a bit of that right now. Don’t you agree?
Read on for help in doing all of this!
Awesome Help for Parents and Teachers
Communicating online seems natural to my kids, but, even still, not so much for my husband and me. That’s why I’m so pleased today to share a great resource for parents, teachers, and kids.
Google’s free, multifaceted program, Be Internet Awesome, is designed to teach digital citizenship and safety, so kids can explore the online world more confidently and spread their own positivity and kindness.
Be Internet Awesome focuses on 5 areas of internet awesomeness:
- SMART: Where we learn to share with care
- ALERT: Where we learn not to fall for fake
- STRONG: Where we learn how to secure Our digital stuff
- KIND: Where we learn that itʼs cool to be kind
- BRAVE:Where we learn that, when in doubt, we talk it out
Available in English and Spanish, Be Internet Awesome includes ISTE-standards-aligned curriculum, ready-made Pear Decks, and an adventure-packed online game about digital safety and citizenship called Interland, that’s great for the little ones.
You Are Not Alone
I hope you will take a moment to check it out and learn more at Be Internet Awesome. Also, please let your kids’ teachers know about the online curriculum so they can introduce these activities in the classroom. You will be amazed at the sheer number of great resources, talking points, and ideas available there. Oh, and be sure to play Interland with your kids and put your kindness skills to the test.
We are not alone. With resources like these, we can help our kids be good digital citizens and use the amplifying power of the internet to spread positivity. Together, I know we can create a kinder world, both online and in real life.
Lastly, after checking out Be Internet Awesome, I invite you to start a conversation with your family about what it means to be kind, how to be Upstanders, and how to promote positivity at home, at school and online.
To continue the conversation on social media, use and follow the #BeInternetAwesome and #ItsCoolToBeKind hashtags.