Google gave an announcement this morning about the expansion of its two-year-old digital safety and curriculum for kids, “Be Internet Awesome”, for including media literacy, specifically the ability to identify fake news and other false content.
The company is launching around six new media literacy activities for the curriculum that will help teach kids stuff like how to avoid phishing attack, how to verify that information is credible, what bots are, how to evaluate sources, how to spot fake URLs, and many more.
The new media literacy classes were developed in collaboration with Anne Collier, executive director of The Net Safety Collaborative, and Faith Rogow, Ph.D., co-author of The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy and a co-founder of the National Association for Media Literacy Education.
“We need the right tools and resources to help kids make the most of technology, and while good digital safety and citizenship resources exist for families, more can be done for media literacy,” writes educator and teachmama.com founder Amy Mascott, in an announcement on Google’s blog today. “I’ve worked alongside dozens of educators who believe that media literacy is essential to safety and citizenship in the digital age, but agree that it’s a topic that can be tough to cover.”
The courses offer kids not only instruction but also various activities and discussion starters aimed at helping them in developing critical skills when it comes to pursuing online resources. The course material explains the kids to understand that the content they find online isn’t necessarily true or reliable, many times it could involve malicious efforts to steal their identity or information. Kids will learn how phishing works, how to avoid phishing attacks, practice anti-phishing skills by acting out and discussing reactions to suspicious online texts, posts, friend requests, pictures, and emails.
The overall goal of media literacy is to encourage the kids to make checking all news and information a habit. The curriculum is available online for both teachers and families, and are also offered in English along with some foreign languages like Spanish.