What We Can All Learn about Children & Cybersecurity

Hey there! Thanks for joining me for a quick, short, sweet byte for this week. Let’s get started!

This Tuesday, I had the honor of teaching over 60 6th and 7th-grade students at Kaneland Harter Middle School about the tenets of user-controlled cybersecurity including preventing phishing scams, having a clean digital profile, maintaining “computationally-hard” passwords, data breaches, and general precautions. For more information/details, place visit the Kaneland tab under my Events toggle in the menu bar.

Here’s what I learned from them/my experience:

  1. Parents do not share news about their experiences with cybersecurity- and they should! We took a quick poll at the end of class, asking how many students heard about the ransomware “WannaCry” that has been all over the news. Surprisingly, we heard giggles and noticed stares- but no hands. The important takeaway is that it is becoming increasingly important to tell younger kids about this—not to scare them—but to make them aware of the REALITY of the Internet. 
  2. Kids WANT to know- it’s a natural curiosity in the kids that lets them explore more and dive deeper into cybersecurity concepts. When I set up the stations and walked around to guide the students, I could see them take initiative to learn and engage themselves in these topics. They GET that these are relevant topics. They UNDERSTAND that they use these devices every day.
    1. Engage them! They love any activity with games and learning mixed together. I have found this is the best way to teach about cyber-safety.
  3. They are affected by it—in the biggest way possible! Hackers and cyber criminals don’t care about age to target people. I was speaking with a 7th-grade student at the phishing station who told me of a time that he received a phishing email the previous year and clicked on it! It was from an old teacher and so he believed that she had been trying to contact him with a document she shared. Thanks to the school’s firewall, no virus or malware was installed on the device. But what if it happened at home? On his phone? How would he know what to do? 
  4. #Havethetalk. I’ll say it 100x, over and over! Having this talk about digital awareness and even talking about recent cybersafety once a week can make your student more aware.

Check out my video for Kaneland here! https://youtu.be/zgS28osUr4I 

Thanks for joining me!

Stay tuned for more & as always, be a safe digital citizen!

Sincerely,

Detective Safety @GuruDetective