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Templates & Lessons

October 30, 2019

Teach Them It’s Cool To Be Kind

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Pear Deck Team

An illustration of a student in a dark room, sitting in front of a computer, with glowing eyes in the background

My 7th grader and I are working at the dining room table. I’m writing this; he’s working on his school-issued Chromebook, listening to clarinet quartets on YouTube for his junior high band lessons. It’s about as safe as the internet gets, and reassuring to see him get excited about something as benign as a woodwind arrangement. I love that he has access to a world of music and creativity online. But I’m also well-aware that he’s a click away from the wild world of YouTube, and its myriad offerings both good and bad—the educational, entertaining, damaging, and even toxic stream of videos, posts,  memes, and messages. The internet has it all, and today being online isn’t optional—it’s required for almost every part of our kids’ academic lives.  

Being online is part of our students’ daily lives. From phones to school devices, the need for students to be able to navigate the digital world safely is growing at a rate that outpaces our ability to teach them those skills. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and according to research from Google, kids report that cyberbullying is one of the top online safety concerns in the classroom.

We know bullying isn’t new—but digital technologies can make intervention trickier. Chances are that many of the kids in your classes have already been exposed to some type of bullying online: as a target, a witness, or perhaps even as the instigator. According to research from the Family Online Safety Institute, 71 percent of students report having witnessed bullying directly.1 The effects of bullying can be powerful and have serious short- and long-term consequences.

  • 64% of people who have been cyberbullied say it affects their ability to learn and feel safe at school2
  • Students who experience cyberbullying are more likely to have mental health and behavior issues3
  • Bullied students are more than twice as likely to experience problems such as stomach pains and headaches4

As parents and teachers, we’re outsiders—we know the danger is present, and that our students are going to have to navigate it on their own, so how can we make sure they know how?

Educators are often seen as the most trusted source to help maximize the benefits—and minimize the harms—of technology. That’s why Google created the Be Internet Awesome curriculum, designed to help educators teach students how to safely engage with the Internet.

The program includes ready-to-teach Pear Deck lessons, interactive games, and an ISTE-aligned curriculum for teachers covering five key themes:

Be Internet KIND gives students the tools to fight cyberbullying and set a positive example.

Be Internet SMART teaches students to share and communicate responsibly and thoughtfully in the digital world.

Be Internet ALERT shows students how to identify scams and understand what’s real and what’s fake online.

Be Internet STRONG helps students create strong passwords and secure information.

Be Internet BRAVE keeps the dialogue open between kids and adults when they encounter something iffy online.

Each of these subject areas help kids learn essential 21st-century skills, but if you’re looking to get started and help combat cyberbullying, the Be Internet Kind lesson “It’s Cool to Be Kind” is the perfect place to begin. The activities help kids learn how to be kind online and emphasize the importance of practicing kindness and inclusion to prevent bullying in the real world. Students also learn real strategies like how to identify negative behaviors and create safer, more positive online cultures together.

While we can’t keep our students safe all the time, and we certainly can’t keep them from going online or being exposed to negative or bullying behaviors, we can help them learn to recognize problems and give them the tools and strategies they need to cope.

Install the Curriculum

This week's blog post was written by VP of Marketing Kate Beihl.

1 Family Online Safety Institute
2Cyberbullying Research Center
4 Gini and Pozzoli, 2013

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Pear Deck Team

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Pear Deck

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