This week is the last full week for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As a trusted adult, you play an essential role in making sure your students stay safe and secure while online, both in the classroom and at home. Cybersecurity has become increasingly important in our lives. From technologies in the classroom to devices students interact with outside of school, it has never been more important for teachers to understand how they can help their students stay safe online.
If you haven’t had time to incorporate Cybersecurity into your classroom yet, don’t worry! There are several actions you can take both within the next week, and throughout the course of the year that can help you in supporting cybersecurity culture in the classroom.
Let’s Time Out Really Quick…
Why Should You Care About Supporting a Cybersecurity Culture in the Classroom?
Incorporating cybersecurity into the mindset of everyone in our culture is a process that has to start early. Period. We all do the best to make sure that our kids are prepared and protected for when they go out into society. Think about programs that your children are already exposed to. Our society has created many great programs that are aimed at keeping children safe in our society. Programs such as D.A.R.E America, Stranger Danger Awareness Program, Fire Safe Kids, among many others help teach our children how to be safe in the event that something should happen to them. But how many of have taken the same level of care to teach our kids about how to stay safe online?
Children are exposed to the Internet everywhere now. But are they protected from these new threats? Consider this: according to a recent study 51% of kids have shared AT LEAST ONE of the following with someone they did not know online personally:
- Mentioned the city or town where they live
- Shared their first and last names
- Mentioned the school they go to
- Shared their phone number.
How to Start Supporting a Cybersecurity Culture in the Classroom
How can we help protect our students and kids from these threats. Well, just as you would with other types of safety, educate them on safe practices! For children of all ages, knowing how to stay safe online is critical as our society becomes more and more technologically driven. For this part of the blog post, we have aimed to provide you with some resources and ideas on supporting a cybersecurity culture in the classroom.
Develop Lesson Plans
There are tons of resources available online that help you to develop activities and lesson plans for helping your students to better understand Cybersecurity. From group activities, to games, to quizzes and videos, there are resources that allow you to prepare your students for Cyber threats whether you have one hour or entire days. For some more options on integrating Cybersecurity Education into your classroom the Cyber Security Awareness Volunteer Education (C-SAVE) program has several resources for scenario-based curriculum for K-12 students.
Promote Cybersecurity Throughout Your Classroom
Again, an important aspect of cybersecurity is that it needs to be reinforced consistently throughout the year. Luckily, there are free resources available online that can help you to put reminders up in your classroom for your kids to keep cybersecurity in the forefront of their minds. Here are a couple of free resources:
You can also have your students sign a Safe Internet pledge and hang them in the hallway or in your classroom as a way to bring awareness to the issue throughout the school. Here are some resources for these types of pledges:
- Internet Safety Pledges By Grade
- NCMEC Internet Safety Pledge
- McGruff’s Internet Safety Pledge for Young Children
Incorporate Cybersecurity into Other Assignments
Remind Students of Stop. Think. Connect. Tips and the importance of cybersecurity when giving assignments that require Internet use.
Bring in a Guest Speaker
If you are still struggling with how to best discuss Cybersecurity with your students, consider bringing in a guest speaker. Many companies who have security practices and professors from local colleges will take part in School programs to come and speak to children about online safety. If you can’t find someone locally, you can request an Internet safety presentation for your school or community through Project iGuardian, an effort between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) directorate, NCMEC, and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Each of these strategies can help teachers and administrators strengthen the culture of cybersecurity within our educational systems. Stay tuned for more blog posts where we provide insights into how education and technology can continue to better our kids for the future.