By Jackie Leavitt, Former First Lady of Utah and Founder of iKeepSafe 

As we encourage youth to practice social distancing due to the novel coronavirus, undoubtedly, they are spending more time online. It’s important that parents and teachers take this time to ensure their children and students are safe from potential dangers on the internet as they spend extra time on computers and digital devices. 

While technology brings many benefits, it is imperative to teach youth the proactive skills they need to form a healthy relationship with it. To address this, we developed iKeepSafe’s free Faux Paw the Techno Cat narrated e-book series for children.

Faux Paw the Techno Cat, the star of the e-book series, was the office cat in Utah who attracted much attention as visitors came to the Capitol during our administration. We could say Faux Paw was the impetus that sparked the effort. Today, this delightful cat still gets the help he needs when getting into “techno” trouble. The sixth adventure, Faux Paw and the Unfortunate Upload- Digital Ethics for Kids, was officially launched just a couple of weeks ago!

Thanks to a mean bulldog who baits Faux Paw into tricky situations, there are lessons that can be learned. Each of the six free narrated e-books focus on a separate digital issue.  Luckily, Faux Paw has friends, like Cursor, who help him handle cyberbullying, unhealthy media choices, and other tricky digital trouble. Children learn as they listen to or read about the “faux paus” in which this Techno Cat becomes entangled. 

There were times when our children were young when it became clear that we needed to engage and address digital topics.  Safe and healthy interactions and a positive relationship with technology just don’t automatically happen.

With precautions taken for Covid-19, this extra time with children at home can be a unique window for learning digital ethics and positive online skills. Because the books are e-narrated, they are fun to watch, and learning about being good digital citizens can happen with ease. Healthy living in a “connected world” requires a few necessary skills and conversations, which these books will help inspire.