You should know Google+ by now. Google+, the Google answer to Facebook, came out quickly, then cooled off a little, but now it picks up speed pretty well. Now, it will allow for users 13 and up to create accounts. Of course the first thing that comes to mind for me is how do they plan to keep children safe. We know of the predators online, and not to put too much emphasis on them, we do need to educate, but we need to do that from a safe place.
Google decided to create a Google+ Safety Center. Most tech directors for school systems fear what their users can do online, while teachers (and parents) want to harness the opportunities they find there. For schools who receive eRate funds (Federal funds used for internet connectivity, phone service, and hardware), they do not want to risk those funds and want to stay in line with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). What Google did on their Safety Center is try to begin those conversations so that you can use the resources, but everyone learns about how to use them properly. On the site, you can explore by child, parent, or educator. Right now, the educator site is lacking, with only a few links to some online curriculum, but they promise more soon. You can find many more resources on the Parent and Student pages. What I really like is the sections on Digital Reputation and Bullying. They pretty much just packaged up information you can find elsewhere, but the tool (Google+) itself did the packaging. You did not refer somewhere else, you learned it right on the same tool, which I find much more powerful. The tool itself is telling you what is needed.
Is Google+’s Safety Center perfect? No, and I would even say it is lacking at this moment. I would like to see some more interactivity, pull in some YouTube videos, and make it much more entertaining. But, they created something they can expand. For that, I give them proper credit. I would like to see this among all the social networking sites!