The Internet Can Be Overwhelming For Kids. A New Facebook Initiative Is Trying To Help.

From privacy to positive behavior.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced it was launching a new Digital Literacy Library designed to help educators and parents teach young people how to better "navigate the digital world, critically consume information and responsibly produce and share content."

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According to TechCruch, the lessons are aimed at kids between the ages of 11 and 18, and feature resources from the Youth and Media team at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard. The team reportedly aimed to reflect the voices of diverse youth, and the free-to-download lessons (including discussions, games, and quizzes) will soon be available in 45 languages other than English. 

Facebook lists several topics covered by the lessons, including security, positive behavior, and content production, as well as how to raise awareness for important issues. As the internet can be an overwhelming and frequently scary place, particularly for young people, these kinds of skills are important to teach.

Topics covered in Facebook's new Digital Literacy Library. Facebook

Of course, many of the problems the initiative seeks to address have been perpetuated by Facebook itself. In 2013, a study found that it was the worst social media platform for online bullying, with 87 percent of bullied teens saying they had experienced it on the site. (A more recent study put Instagram at the top, but Facebook still wasn't far behind.)

Hate speech and privacy issues have also been headline-making problems for the platform in recent years. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica gained access to the data of millions of users. Additionally, The Verge points out that there is no mention in the digital literacy lessons of "fake news" — an issue which has plagued Facebook since the 2016 election cycle.

Although it may not be comprehensive, these resources could prove helpful in guiding young people through an increasingly digital world. As TechCrunch reports, Facebook also has an app for users under 13 called Messenger Kids, which encourages kindness online — and we could always use more of that.

Cover image: Jayson Photography / Shutterstock.com

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