Cybercrime and cyber-stalking are becoming an issue that we should be concerned about if we care about safer surfing for our children:
One big obstacle against the better protection of children is that our public-policy makers do not provide schools with the resources (financial and human) required to provide children with better skills regarding cyber-security.
For some time we have tried to get your attention when it comes to the fact that that teachers are pretty much left to their own devices regarding InfoSec and pedophiles. Students or school pupils must be provided with the skills that allow them to read the user conditions they submit to when signing up with Facebook or MySpace. However, as importantly, they also need to know the practical side of how to better protect their:
- data, AND
Only then can we reduce the risk for our children becoming a victim to a cyber-stalker or a mobbing / cyber-bullying attack. These concerns are becoming an ever more important issue in and around the virtual classroom.
One practical thing we are doing regarding this matter is helping a teacher and the pupils to develop and work with a privacy checklist:
as well as other means to empower this class of 4th graders to better protect themselves. But the Internet is becoming a minefield for teachers as well. For instance, while doing most things right, a teacher could forget the key element. To illustrate, one of the students (10 years old – just so you remember) found a school blog from fellow 4th grade bloggers in Germany. There, students use pseudonyms to post their material on the blog. Unfortunately, they post digital images of themselves as well on their blog. You can find all the details you need here including the links to the pupils’ blog here:
So how much longer will we leave our teachers with little of any help. In many European countries we provide assistance to teachers when it comes to:
- dental hygiene – an expert from public health visits the classroom teaching kids on how to clean their teeth properly,
- traffic alert – children are being instructed by a police expert about how to stay safe while coming to school and walking home.
For the above activities, there is a budget and nobody questions the costs. Cyber-security has no or little if any support besides some brochures, static web pages and so on. But some children do learn much faster with examples and by practicing their skills (cleaning teeth, crossing a busy street, protecting their privacy on MySpace)
When will we demand from our policy makers to authorize the resources needed to send young cyberbuddies (about 20 years of age) to the classrooms. These cyberbuddies should be working with our children to help them improve their cybersecurity skills, in turn, reducing their risk for becoming a victim of sexual exploitation online or identity theft. So how about getting into action or what have you done for a neighborhood school this week regarding better cybersecurity?