Nearly 600 seventh- and eighth-graders in Southwest Austin had the chance to hear Google Inc. employees speak May 14 about how to stay safe online as part of the company's Good to Know School Roadshow, which visited Clint Small Middle School.
"Middle school is the best time when [children] can start developing best practices for how to be safe online," said Jamie Hill, spokeswoman for Google's Good To Know School Roadshow.
At CSMS, which is part of Austin ISD, eighth-grade students are participating in a pilot program that is introducing more tablets and laptops and digital literacy elements to the classroom, so the roadshow program ties in with their increased exposure to technology, Hill said. According to a survey, 93 percent of children ages 12–17 are active online, she said.
During the assembly in the school's gymnasium, speakers from Google explained how students can be good "online citizens," come up with strong passwords and consider consequences before sharing content. Students were asked yes-or-no trivia questions they answered by holding up red and green paddles, and volunteers from the audience competed to see who could create the strongest password.
Additionally, the program reminded students to be respectful of others in online forums and social networking sites.
"Online, it's sometimes really easy to click things really fast and then immediately take a short action, so [part of the program is] about stepping back and realizing that that short action can have an impact on someone else's life."
The program, which launched in March, is an expansion of Google's Good To Know program, a global effort to teach people about being safe online. More information is available at www.google.com/goodtoknow.