Y to host Google’s Be Internet Awesome workshops to underscore safe Internet use among local children during Internet Safety Month

Minneapolis, MN - The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, is teaming up with Google to host free workshops for parents to help teach families about online safety and digital citizenship with its Be Internet Awesome program and help families create healthy digital habits with the Family Link app.

The partnership that began with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago has expanded to include six U.S. cities. The YMCA Associations, including the Greater Twin Cities, have joined efforts with Google to offer thousands of families across the country resources from Google’s Be Internet Awesome online safety and digital citizenship program to help teach kids the basics of digital citizenship and safety to help them make the most of the Internet and be prepared to make smart decisions online. A total of 100 workshops have been scheduled at YMCA locations in the Twin Cities, Seattle, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Long Island. The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities is hosting 12 events.

The workshops, designed for parents, coincide with June’s National Internet Safety Month and come at the start of the school summer holidays when screen time use typically surges and parents seek ways to best protect their children from unscrupulous online activity.

“As the Internet and technology become more and more ingrained in our daily lives, making sure that families are equipped with the necessary tools to establish safe and healthy online habits is crucial,” said Glen Gunderson, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. “Google’s Be Internet Awesome program empowers families to have conversations about online at home with helpful information and we feel strongly that these resources need to reach our communities. We are honored to be partnering with Google to make this happen.”

“We are thrilled to bring the Be Internet Awesome program to families across the U.S. through parent workshops,” said Jessica Covarrubias, Google’s Be Internet Awesome lead. “We want to encourage families to navigate the Internet in a safe and confident manner. This is why we’ve developed Be Internet Awesome to help teach kids and families the fundamentals of online safety and digital citizenship. Parents have expressed the need for helpful information on these topics so we designed resources for families and created parent workshops to provide the tools and resources to guide conversations about online safety at home.”

The one-hour workshops are free and will focus on Be Internet Awesome’s “Internet Code of Awesome”: Be SMART, ALERT, STRONG, KIND and BRAVE. Families will learn to teach their children how to communicate responsibly, 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 why building healthy tech habits is important. The workshops will give parents access to free bilingual resources, answers to questions about online safety and digital citizenship, and information to help facilitate discussions at home. Most centers are also offering child care services during the session for the convenience of parents.

The six-city collaboration emerged following the success of a pilot program between the YMCA of Metro Chicago and Google in April 2019 in hosting 18 BIA workshops at each of the Association’s centers. Parents showed a strong desire to learn more about Internet safety, and many described the workshop as “informative” and “helpful” and now feel comfortable initiating a discussion about digital safety with their children. As an established nonprofit organization who knows and understands the communities it serves, the YMCA has the unique ability to help partners connect directly with families.

See below for a list of upcoming YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities workshop locations and dates. For more info, contact the YMCA site directly. Visit yBIA.org for the complete list of 100 workshops in six cities.

June 24, 5:00 p.m.
St. Paul Eastside YMCA
875 Arcade Street
Saint Paul, MN 55106

June 24, 6:00 p.m.
Forest Lake YMCA
19845 Forest Rd N
Forest Lake, MN 55025

June 25, 5:00 p.m.
Harold Mezile YMCA
1711 West Broadway Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55411

June 26, 5:00 p.m.
New Hope YMCA
7601 42nd Avenue North
New Hope, MN 55427

July 8, 7:30 p.m.
New Hope YMCA
7601 42nd Avenue North
New Hope, MN 55427

July 9, 3:00 p.m.
Mounds View Community Center
5394 Edgewood Dr.
Mounds View, MN 55112

July 10, 5:00 p.m.
St. Paul Downtown YMCA
194 East 6th Street
Saint Paul, MN 55101

July 11, 1:00 p.m.
Emma B Howe YMCA
8950 Springbrook Drive NW
Coon Rapids, MN 55433

July 11, 5:00 p.m.
Eagan YMCA
550 Opperman Drive
Eagan, MN 55123

July 11, 5:00 p.m.
St. Paul Midway YMCA
1761 University Avenue West
Saint Paul, MN 55104

July 12, 1:00 p.m.
Southdale YMCA
7355 York Avenue South
Edina, MN 55435

July 15, 1:00 p.m.
Shoreview YMCA
3760 Lexington Avenue North
Shoreview, MN 55126

About the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities is a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Established 162 years ago, the Ys provide life-strengthening services across the greater Twin Cities metro region, southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin communities. The 29 Y locations and program sites, eight overnight camps, 10 day camps, and more than 90 child care sites engage more than 370,000 men, women and children of all ages, incomes and backgrounds. To learn more about the Y’s mission and work, visit www.ymcamn.org.