If you’re like me, a mom of a very technologically-advanced-almost-5-year-old, you second guess what you are allowing your children do on your iPhone, tablet, and laptop. When I grew up, there weren’t any video games in my home. I was told to go outside with my jump rope, magnifying glass, or hula hoop. If it was raining, put on your galoshes and jump in puddles. If there were thunderstorms, I would color or play a game of Go Fish. My mom always encouraged me to get “out,” not stay “in.”
Fast forward 30 years, here we are in Spring and my daughter wants to play on her Leap Frog. I get it. She sees me on my cell phone and even pretends to be Mommy at work by moving her fingers frivolously on an imaginary “comp-ooter.” Yikes. No wonder she loves her Leap Frog.
Jason shared with me this awesome game that Google is developing, called Interland. It’s more than a video game. It’s a refreshing, fun, educational world to help kids understand important life skills, including technology.
Share with Care
Information, pictures, posts spread fast on the internet. Not all information is necessarily good to be shared with everyone, especially if it’s not your own. This land helps put kids in other people’s shoes about what they should and should not share.
There are a lot of fake things out there in the WWW. Kids see words like “Win!” and “$1,000” and “FREE” and may not have the ability to recognize a scam. Teaching kids that sometimes things are too good to be true is tough. Let them navigate through this land to learn potential red flags. But stay close. This is in the format of a trivia game, the questions are meant to facilitate questions between child(ren) and parents(s).
Protect Your Privacy
Although my daughter would be way too young to remember passwords, she can certainly understand the importance of having them. By chasing a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and avoid the road blocks who are trying to steal them is planting a seed for future educational opportunities.
This one is my favorite. Partially because it does resemble a little bit of Mario Brothers (which I used to play over a friends house, shhhh) and secondly it’s really cute to hear my daughter say “don’t be sad” and “here’s some kindness” and “cheer up.” In this land, collect hearts and share the “love” with visibly sad characters. Then, stand up to the bullies by grabbing “speakers” to tell them to stop. The conversations sparked from this game were incredible.
Although you are a rock star at teaching your kids internet safety and maybe even have rules at home about what’s allowed and what’s not, they will probably be out of the house a lot. Make sure you let grandparents, friends’ parents, teachers, and other caregivers know so everyone is on the same page.