Technology advancement and permeability of the internet, even in the most remote of places in Kenya has allowed more people to be connected more than ever before. Almost everyone knows how to access the internet, including teenagers, who are increasingly spending more time online. Protecting teenagers from potentially harmful things from the internet is becoming incredibly important for parents especially in 2018.
Enforcing internet safety on your children doesn’t necessarily mean putting up a wall between your child and the rest of the world, rather its teaching them a set of core values and behaviors that enable them to go online, armed with necessary awareness and knowledge that will ultimately enable them to be able to thrive on their own as young adults. That’s where Google’s Web Rangers program comes to play.
Web Rangers is a Google-led digital literacy program aimed at promoting and educating the youth about how the internet is an empowering tool relevant to their lives and their future. The program provides workshops run by local online safety experts to help train young people. These young online safety ‘ambassadors’ then run campaigns amongst their peers, schools and communities to raise awareness of online safety.
Google has been promoting safe use of the internet worldwide for a couple of years now. It was started in Israel back in 2011 and has grown to over 15 countries globally. In Kenya, Web Rangers was launched in 2015 at Precious Girls Secondary, Riruta. The program has been implemented in over 176 schools across Kenya, directly trained 3,500 students and 1,500 teachers; and indirectly (through peer training) reached over 30,000 students.
By joining the Web Rangers program, young people get a unique opportunity to work closely with Google experts, who advise them on online marketing, safety and security online, how best to utilize the benefits of the internet, as well as learn how to mitigate the unintended negative aspects that the medium may present to them.
Through the workshops organized by the Web Rangers program, Teenagers can learn how to make campaign videos for online audience’s topics such as diversity and inclusion, trust, tolerance, and responsibility. Participants will also learn how to tackle real-life policy issues – such as cyber bullying, sexting, sharing personal information online and cat fishing.
They also get to meet and socialize with some of the best minds in the online world to learn about digital literacy so that they can use the internet to pursue passions, hone talents and develop skills or learn new things that matter to their lives.
The Web Rangers program could really help young adults be best equipped with the necessary knowledge to help them course through the murky waters of the internet in the 21st century. By encouraging your teenage children to join, you can rest easy knowing that they online future is secure under the guidance of the Web rangers.