As learning becomes increasingly virtual, online safety has become a priority for teachers and parents. But how do you do it in a way that’s fun and engaging? How about an internet safety game from Google? We played Google’s Interland ourselves and also ran it by our panel of resident experts (read: our editors’ kids), and we’re excited to share their feedback. Whether you’re looking to keep the momentum going from Safer Internet Day on Feb. 9 or just wanting to get started with some digital citizenship, you’ll want to get your students playing Interland. Here’s what we love about it:
It’s all about the adventure
Interland is an adventure-packed online game that teaches the fundamentals of digital safety and citizenship through hands-on practice. It invites kids ages 6-12 to “embark on a quest to deny hackers, sink phishers, one-up cyberbullies, outsmart oversharers, and become a confident explorer online.”
You get four games in one
The immersive world consists of four games, each set on a different floating island: Kind Kingdom, Mindful Mountain, Tower of Treasure, and Reality River. 7-year-old Miles says, “My favorite gate is Mindful Mountain. I learned you have to be careful who you tell your passwords to.”
It’s super intuitive
This game is from Google, so it’s well-done and visually appealing. As soon as you open Interland, you’ll be prompted with a Let’s Do This button. From there, you can navigate to the different lands and click Play. The directions appear as text, but they’re also read aloud. Even someone with limited video game experience like me found it easy to play, so it was a piece of cake for our first and second grade testers.
You earn rewards
Gamers love rewards. With Interland, you’ll get directions for how to guide the blue Internaut (our intrepid hero) through the challenge and avoid the villainous Blarghs. In Tower of Treasure, you grab your messages and emails with sensitive information to store safely in the tower. You’ll earn achievements as you go, spurring you along the path to a safer internet experience.
There’s valuable learning attached
Interland covers tons of digital safety content. Henry, 8, says, “I liked stopping bullies and jumping on things. I learned that you have to report bullies.” Some of our favorite topics include:
- Creating better passwords.
- Recognizing scams.
- Dealing with spam.
- Handling cyberbullying.
- Media literacy.