Earlier this week, Google launched its global 'Be Internet Awesome' programme for children in India, in partnership with Indian comic book publisher, Amar Chitra Katha, to interweave critical internet safety lessons across eight Indian languages. The tech giant has also launched an enhanced Google Safety Centre in eight Indic languages as part of its efforts to step up the safety of users on the internet. The initiative will help Google India continue its work around misinformation, fraud and threats to child safety.
The teams include product policy analysts, security specialists and user trust experts. They support over 10 vernacular languages, enabling the central team to benefit from the local nuances and inputs. This initiative is aimed to help Google India continue its work around misinformation, fraud, threats to child safety, violent extremism, phishing attacks, and malware. It will further strengthen Google's global trust and safety operations of over 20,000 people, who are dedicated to identifying, fighting, and preventing online harm.
“Our north star is to make the Internet helpful for a billion Indians every single day, more people are placing their trust in the Internet and adopting new services. All of us, in the technology industry, have a responsibility to honour their trust," Sanjay Gupta, India country manager and vice president, said at the recent 'Google for India' virtual event. He added that Google treats user data with utmost responsibility and gives users complete control over their data. "As technology becomes more accessible, the barriers are lowered for bad actors as well and hence, the work to enhance trust, must go hand in hand. We need to ensure that our children continue to learn and explore the world safely with the internet. Women must have equal access to the internet opportunity without fearing for their safety and people across the country should feel assured that they and their money is safe when they're online," Gupta said.
Gupta noted that internet users in India are at different levels of digital maturity, and that it is ‘critical’ to step up efforts to build people's confidence, so they can ‘fully trust the services they use online and they always know what to expect from them’ whether they are familiar with the internet, or accessing it for the first time. He further emphasised that for building a foundation of trust for the internet, "We cannot leave the doors open for the bad actors" and industry must do its part, especially as new threats arise. “Cutting-edge innovations can make internet safer, just as they made it (internet) more open, more inclusive, and more dynamic. India will shape the future of a safer internet for everyone. Building a safer internet for everyone is not one more thing to do, it is the thing to do," he added.
Google has also rolled out an ad film that highlights how Internet safety is of utmost importance for kids, who are now spending more time on the web. Developed in collaboration with online safety experts, 'Be Internet Awesome' provides tools for kids, parents and educators, including a free web-based game and a classroom curriculum. The launch of the newly expanded safety centre in Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu, and Bengali, Tamil, and Gujarati by the year-end, will serve as a single destination that will cover important topics like data security, privacy controls, and online protections.
The 'Be Internet Awesome' campaign includes an interactive experience called 'Interland', where children can participate in a series of fun and challenging games and learn how to safeguard valuable information, one-up cyberbullies, and spot what's real and what's fake when online. This gamified curriculum will also find a place in Amar Chitra Katha's popular series across eight Indian languages.
Google's latest initiatives are supported by a series of new global policies that it recently introduced, including product changes to Google accounts for people under 18 across YouTube, search, location history, Play and Google Workspace for Education.