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The Net Safety Collaborative

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Google announced its plan to expand its two-year-old digital safety and citizenship curriculum for children, on Tuesday. “Be Internet Awesome” will now include a new media literacy program, targeting how children can identify fake news or content disseminated on digital platforms.

The company will be launching six new activities in the media literacy curriculum that will educate children about the right ways to avoid a potential phishing attack, what bots are, how information can be verified as a credible one, how to avoid disinformation and fake URLs, and much more.

These new 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 official 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 will not only offer instructions to the children but will also organise activities and discussion starters that will help the child in developing critical thinking skills while using online platforms. Children will practise anti-phishing skills by acting them out, along with discussing reactions to malicious online content including posts, pictures and emails etc. In the bots section, they will learn about artificial intelligence and how to compare and contrast while talking to a robot or human. The kids will be taught to spot disinformation, fake news organisations and fake news culture.

The new curriculum will be available online for both families and teachers in eight different languages.