At Google, I lead a program called Be Internet Awesome, which teaches kids 7-12 years old about topics like cyberbullying, phishing, and password security.
We do this through a game called Interland, which allows students to learn about Internet safety while having fun.
My work ranges from game development to creating curriculum. I work with engineers to work out ways that Interland can be made more fun and challenging, and have even greater learning outcomes.
I also work on the marketing and promotion of the program and try and get it in the hands of as many kids as possible. I go to conferences and discuss the topics of digital safety and citizenship with educators so that they can understand just how important these issues are.
Working With Kids
So far, the program has received very positive feedback from educators and children. One of my favorite responses from kids has been that “Interland doesn’t feel like a learning game” – which is exactly what our goal is!
While I didn’t actually think I would be working with kids in my job, interacting with them through the Be Internet Awesome program has turned out to be a great experience – and a lot of fun! I love what I do and the impact we are able to have. I hope to be an entrepreneur someday and work in an area where I can continue to impact society through technology.
Lastly, I have a bit of Internet advice to share with readers and it’s actually pretty simple: the online world is just an extension of the real world, so the basic things we already do to keep ourselves safe just need to be adapted a bit. For example, if you wouldn’t say something to your grandma at Christmas, you probably shouldn’t post it in a forum online. If you wouldn’t tell a stranger on the street what your address is, you should be careful not to do so online either. Pretty simple stuff.
The Internet is an incredible tool you can use to find information and explore topics that are exciting to you. You can also find a community of people who have similar interests and can build things together. It’s a place filled with opportunity. And by mastering a few basic skills, you can be better prepared to explore it safely and confidently. If you want a place to start, why not check out Interland? I may be a bit biased, but I’d say it’s pretty awesome :)