Fulfilling its commitment to make the web a safer place for everyone, Google has announced its collaboration with NCERT to integrate a course on Digital Citizenship and Safety in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) curriculum. Under this new program, students from class I – class XII across 1.4 million schools in India will now learn how to become good and responsible digital citizens. Structured classroom modules on the social, ethical and legal aspects of Internet safety along with a curriculum for teachers developed by Google will guide both students and the teachers, about various aspects of the web, so that they can help students learn all about digital citizenship in their classrooms.

Commenting on the collaboration with NCERT, Sunita Mohanty, Director, Trust and Safety, Google India said, “While the Internet has made life easier for everyone and offers so many opportunities to explore, create and collaborate across all age groups, users online or those coming online for the first time, need to be aware of the possible negative experiences that they may incur on the web. This makes it important for us to start a dialogue on the dangers and threats they can be exposed to when surfing the net. Through our course integration with NCERT, we aim to catch children young and teach them the essentials of staying safe, while exploring the online world.”

Dr. Amarendra Behera, Joint Director, CIET – NCERT, “School education is the foundation for a successful future. We are glad to partner with Google and place on record their association in developing and transacting ICT in Education courses for School Education that is relevant in today’s context. In an increasingly connected world, the internet is fast emerging as a learning space for our students and it’s our responsibility as educators to provide them with a safe learning environment. We hope this initiative will prepare our students to identify the threats and ensure a safe web experience online.”

This new program includes a range of specific resources, for both kids and educators. The syllabus for online safety presented in the curriculum will be systematically graded and has been divided into four overarching themes – Being Smart, Being Safe, Being a Digital Citizen and Being Future Ready. In lower classes, students will focus on engaging with technology and learning the use of basic digital tools whereas in middle classes, students will be introduced to basics of the internet, concepts of account safety and distinguishing good content from bad. And as they advance, they will learn things like privacy, device management, intellectual property and reputation management. Finally, as they become ready to graduate as digital citizens, they will be prepared with online financial literacy and cybercrime concepts so that they are future ready.

On this occasion, Google also announced the winners of the 3rd edition of its Web Rangers competition, which was an initiative from Google about spreading awareness about Internet safety and promote digital citizenship. And we got to see some cool stuff developed by children and teens from across the nation. Seventeen-year-old Arjun S from Chennai created Alice Safety Bot, an AI-powered bot that answers your internet safety related questions whereas 13-year-old Mrigank Pawagi from Noida created the Android app WebMe which is an educative game that allows users to learn how to stay safe online by completing interesting challenges that take them to different levels. Juyeong Suk, another 17 years old, from Kolkata and a team of 16-year-olds from Pune – Chaitanya Kedar Sapre, Om Patil, and Ishika Kulkarni, created innovative stop-motion videos and 15-year-old Akashdeep from Ranchi designed an innovative poster that represents how WebRangers can protect the internet.

The third edition of the Web Rangers Contest received over 5000 projects, campaigns and posters from across the country among them over 50% of the entries were from non-metro cities. The submissions were judged on creativity, reach and impact. The Google Web Rangers Contest was launched in 2015 and till now, Google’s Web Rangers program has trained over 30,000 student ambassadors across private and government schools from over 75 cities in 12 states.

Congratulating the winners, Sunita Mohanty, Director, Trust and Safety, Google India said, “We are overwhelmed with the participation shown by students for the third edition of the Web Rangers Contest. This year has been our most successful edition as we saw equal participation from students across private and government schools. With their creative ideas, teenagers helped us spread the message of internet safety and good digital citizenship, whilst empowering their friends and families to have a safer and meaningful digital experience.”

As India is crossing the 400 million internet user mark in 2017, and the number of internet users growing fast, Google is committed to making the web a safer place for every Indian. Apart from this collaboration with NCERT, Google has proactively partnered with other like like-minded organizations and the Government to work towards raising awareness about Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety among all age groups in India.

An optimist to the core, I always see the glass half full. I like to take life as it comes and not to become too serious on the harsher aspects of it. Apart from this, I am an Engineer, a Blogger & a Researcher....

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