Google is teaming up with the National PTA, the U.S. nonprofit parent-teacher association, to launch a new program designed to teach parents how to educate their kids on various facets of online safety.
The internet giant has created an all-in-one kit, constituting a Google Pixelbook, a presentation covering topics across the online safety and “digital citizenship” spectrum, and other related tools such as banners and posters. The kit is available in both English and Spanish.
The program represents part of Google’s broader Be Internet Awesome initiative, which launched last year alongside a web-based game designed to teach kids the fundamentals of internet safety.
“We know from research that parents want kids to be safe online but are unsure how to get the conversation going,” noted Julianne Yi, who heads up Google’s Be Internet Awesome program. “To help them, we created workshop kits to empower parents to teach one another how to spark productive discussions at home on digital safety and citizenship.”
Tying in with the kits, Google and the National PTA have teamed up to award grants of $1,000 to PTAs in each state, which can be used to set up “Be Internet Awesome” workshops. There will be 200 workshop grants doled out in total, and successful applicants will receive one of the kits as part of the award. The kits won’t be made available as a standalone product, but Google told VentureBeat that it would being working with other local school-parent organizations to distribute the free kits for hosting family workshops at their school, while it is also looking into partnering with other non-profit bodies to host family workshops.
Later this year, Google said that it will also make the content of the kit (e.g., the presentation and related materials) available for anyone to access online.
Additionally, Google said that it’s launching a “classroom rewards” program through the nonprofit matchmaker platform DonorsChoose.org, which helps teachers fund specific initiatives by finding sponsors. Upon completing a program, K-6 teachers can claim $100 in credit and put it toward their specific project. Google said that it’s making $1 million worth of awards available in total.
These latest initiatives are timed to coincide with National Cybersecurity Awareness and National Bullying Prevention Month, which are both in October. Indeed, earlier this month Facebook introduced a handful of new anti-bullying features on its platform, while a couple of days ago Instagram revealed it would now use AI to detect bullying in photos and captions.
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