For while now, Google has had an educational program for children called "Be Internet Awesome". According to Google, this curriculum geared specifically towards children "teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence".
Although this program has been out for 2 years, Google is making an update that will help teach kids how to spot fake content online. This new part of the program focuses on media literacy, and will teach young users how to spot fake news, false URLs, bots and how to avoid phishing scams. These are skills that many of us take for granted (if we have them at all!) and can be difficult to teach.
This new curriculum is designed to show kids that what you see online isn't necessarily accurate. Just because you see something on the Internet, doesn't make it true. Additionally, a lot of these scams can be very difficult to spot from the real thing. Getting tricked by these things can potentially lead to a loss of personal information.
The program will be using a combination of education and activities to help the children learn the lesson points. They will be learning important things such as source credibility, how to tell if they are interacting with a bot, and the ways to spot fake news (and why it matters).
This curriculum is available through Google in 10 languages (including English). It's a great resource for teachers or parents, and honestly might be good refresher for anybody.
With the digital landscape rapidly changing, it is getting harder than ever to tell the difference between whats real and whats fake online. A resource like this is a great idea for helping our kids, who are particularly vulnerable, from becoming a victim of misinformation or scams. If our kids are online, it is of the utmost importance that we find ways to not only protect them, but empower them with education to be media savvy. I certainly wish something like this existed when I was young and just learning to navigate the online space.
For more information, check out the "Be Internet Awesome" program here.