Earlier this week, YMCAs across the U.S. hosted thousands of parents looking for advice on how to manage rising social issues such as cyber-bullying and online safety.
The events were part of a 16-city collaboration coordinated by the YMCA to bring Google’s Be Internet Awesome parent workshops to U.S families.
A total of more than 315 workshops were held at YMCAs throughout the country in observance of global Safer Internet Day. Locally, YMCA of Silicon Valley hosted 16 workshops at local elementary and middle school YMCA after-school program sites to help parents instill healthy and responsible Internet habits in their children.
“As technology use among children continues to rise, parents often tell us that they feel they should be doing more to monitor their children’s screen time activity and give guidance on responsible digital citizenship,” said YMCA of Silicon Valley Senior Vice President of Operations Mary Hashiko Haughey. “We are proud to partner with Google to respond to the changing needs of families and to get Google’s Be Internet Awesome resources in front of parents.”
The one-hour workshops were free and focused on Google’s Internet Code of Awesome: Be SMART, ALERT, STRONG, KIND and BRAVE. Families learned how to communicate responsibly online, understand real from fake in the face of phishing and scams, build strong passwords, be positive and kind online, talk about questionable content with their family, and explored why building healthy tech habits is important.
Parents got access to free bilingual resources and answers to questions about online safety and digital citizenship to help facilitate discussions at home.
The 16-city collaboration marks the third time that the YMCA has partnered with Google to host the Be Internet Awesome workshops. Following a successful pilot program in Chicago in April 2019, the partnership was expanded to include an additional five cities convening 100 parent workshops last June.
Parents described the workshop as “informative” and “helpful” and left feeling comfortable with initiating a discussion about digital safety with their children. As a result, the YMCA coordinated the latest round of workshops to coincide with Safer Internet Day on Feb. 12 to reach even more families.
YMCA of Silicon Valley is a nonprofit strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For more information, visit: www.ymcasv.org. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].