I spent the day at the Google Headquarters & you won’t believe what I discovered. I had the incredible opportunity to take a “Google Field Trip.” last month. As a Google Family Partner, I was invited to LA to spend the day at Google’s Office to learn about their family programs.
To say that I was amazed is an understatement. I had to share the things that I found out while I was there, but first, let me share a sneak peek at our trip:
We arrived at the BEAUTIFUL Google Office, which is an old airplane hangar, and we were given the tour along with the chance to meet many wonderful people.
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I could go into many details about how they have free snacks anytime, all-you-can-drink specialty coffee bars every few hundred feet, fantastic lounge areas all over the place, etc.… but I’ll just leave it as “Google knows how to treat their employees.” They also know how to welcome their guests…
We spent the entire day learning about all of the wonderful things that Google has already been doing and more things that they have up their sleeves. We also met with a lot of the people that work behind the scenes to make these things go from dream to reality.
My favorite part was that Google really values input from parents. I felt like I had a voice that was heard. I felt that I was able to speak for all of my readers when I voiced my opinions about things. I felt like they really strive to make the internet a safer and educational place for our children (let alone all of the things that they have done to make adults’ lives easier).
Here are 5 shocking statistics that I discovered while At Google:
1). 79% of kids between the ages of 6-12 have their own smartphones.
What does this mean for us, as parents? It means that we need to keep them safe because we are learning about the online world with them, so we need to be just one step ahead.
I love Google’s approach to the internet and getting everyone involved: Empowering kids to be safe, confident digital citizens is critical – but it isn’t something any one group can solve alone.
We need to take an ACTIVE role in our children’s lives and technology is not any different. Children, educators, and parents can all learn and practice internet safety. When we take the time to teach our children to be safe online and to use it in the best way, they will benefit forever.
I highly suggest the Family Link App from Google if your kids have a smartphone. The Family Link App gives you Parental Control that is available across multiple platforms to allow you to build a safer experience for your children. It helps your family create healthy digital habits.
Here are a few examples of how you can use the Family Link App :
- View their activity & see how long they were on a specific app. (see example below)
- Manage Their Apps: When a child wants an app, it first comes to YOUR phone and asks if you would like to Approve or Deny the app request. It gives you information to make an informed decision, as well, by providing information like the age suggestion and the game rating. (see an example of parent phone below)
- GPS: You can locate their device with a Family Link App, so when they take their phone you will see them on a map.
- Feed their Curiosity: It gives Teacher-Recommended apps for kids ages 6-9 that you can send directly to your child’s device.
There are many other features, like setting time limits for the device, locking it or unlocking it, etc.… I suggest checking it out & downloading it to use with your family. You can find more information about the Family Link App here.
2- 86% of kids ages 6-12 use the internet every day
In 2017, Google launched Be Internet Awesome (BIA). This is a way to teach kids about internet safety and to be confident explorers of the online world. They have free lessons, printable activities, and a great interactive online game, called Interland, to teach internet safety.
“This is the first time in history that a generation is growing up with constant access to the internet.” – Google
I use Interland as a reward. If they do their ____, they have time to play Interland.
PS- Interland is like sneaking vegetables into the kid’s meals. It reinforces all of the concepts about being a good person (build a strong password, select real scenarios & not fake ones, one-upping cyberbullying, etc…), but all they see is a fun game. Aren’t we sneaky? 😉
If you are a parent, you can find even more tools (Parent Guide, Child Internet Contract, Activities, etc…) by clicking on the Families Tab on the Be Internet Awesome homepage or by clicking here.
3). 84% of parents concerned about kids use of technology
Parents are worried about their children:
- Overusing tech time
- Seeing inappropriate content
- Having companies track their online activity for marketing purposes
- Talking to strangers
- Developing poor communication skills as a result of technology.
- Being bullied (71% of students, ages 6-12, have witnessed bullying)
In fact, even kids noticed a difference when they were spending too much time on technology. One girl who had been interviewed blamed her overuse of technology for her dropping grade in math. It is up to parents to teach our children how to use technology and to show them how to set limits.
We can be their best example, but we need to keep tabs on our own use of technology.
4). 58% of parents are concerned about their own tech use.
When people were surveyed, many of them felt like tech controlled them, instead of feeling like they controlled technology. One parent said: “Smartphone distractions are causing us to miss out on in real life moments.”
It is all about BALANCE when it comes to technology, just like everything.
Google’s take on it is: We believe technology should improve life, not distract from it. We’re committed to giving everyone the tools they need to develop their own sense of digital wellbeing. So that life, not the technology in it, stays front and center.”
We can take control by learning about Digital Wellbeing.
Technology can do one of two things: Cause Stress or Contribute to your wellbeing.
Google’s Digital Wellbeing shows us how to use technology to:
- Improving your productivity
- Help with problem-solving, education & research
- Enhance Intellectual Development & Empowerment
- Bring families together
- Help get some “me time”
- Make parenting easier.
5- Over 80% of educators feel that they don’t have the resources to teach internet safety.
This is a huge concern and one that I hope we can bring to light. We teach so many other important things in school, but it is time to make schools aware of the importance of teaching kids about Internet Safety.
Google offers a FREE Digital Curriculum for schools and educators. They can use it to Teach Children about Internet Safety, but it is up to us to let them know that it is available for them to use.
It can be found on the Be Internet AwesomeBe Internet Awesome homepage under the Educator’s tab in the Menu Bar or you can click here to go right to the safety tools and download/print the curriculum.
Google Is Committed to Helping Technology Work Better for Families.
With Google’s tools and constant work to educate parents, educators and children, we can find a balance that works. Technology is an amazing thing when used properly, and Google is there to help us find that balance, to empower us to teach our children, and to raise children who are good citizens not just “in real life”, but also while online.
This is our future… we deserve to be involved and learn as much as we can to help our children be their very best.