Experts teach cyber safety to school kids

(ISC)2 launched its Safe and Secure Online volunteer program in the U.S., offering cyber security professionals from business and government to teach cyber safety in classrooms nationwide.

Upon request, (ISC)2 member volunteers will deliver Safe and Secure Online, an interactive presentation designed for children ages 11-14, to teach them how to protect themselves in an increasingly cyber-connected world, tackling such concerns as social networking, cyberbullying, viral emails, spam, identity theft and more. The program addresses the gap in security advice that exists in children’s safety outreach efforts, using materials for the classroom developed by former school teachers and presented by certified information security professionals.

While there are several existing programs that address the cyber safety of the nation’s youth, Safe and Secure Online engages certified experts and speaks to the children directly as well as teachers, school administrators and parents. To participate in the Safe and Secure Online program, volunteers must be (ISC)2-certified members in good standing, which includes adherence to it’s strict Code of Ethics. Volunteers are provided with supporting materials, such as a video that highlights practical advice on effectively communicating with children and addresses child protection issues for adults working with school children.

The Safe and Secure Online presentation was assembled by (ISC)2 with support from Childnet International, a charity that aims to make the Internet a safe place for children, and was first introduced to a pool of (ISC)2-certified volunteers in the UK in 2006. A U.S. pilot program ran in Washington State for several months earlier this year before being expanded nationwide to coincide with the start of the 2009-2010 school year and the sixth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October.

“As the largest body of information security professionals in the world, it’s (ISC)2’s mission to go beyond certifying security professionals and introduce responsible computing to everyday computer users,” said W. Hord Tipton, CISSP-ISSEP, CAP, CISA, executive director of (ISC)2. “We want to start with those at highest risk – children, many of whom have a firm grasp of how technology works but lack the savvy to know when they’re putting themselves in jeopardy or when someone is trying to take advantage of them. Safe and Secure Online seeks to empower kids to safely navigate the Internet and mobile devices.”

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