Teaching children information security skills
by Mirko Zorz - Editor in Chief - Wednesday, 18 December 2013.
In addition to providing them with examples, involving them in their own learning has shown to be an effective way to teach children, as well. Asking them questions like: “how would you feel if this happened to you,” “why do you think this happened,” or “how could this situation have been avoided,” is a great way to get them to think and apply these scenarios to their own life.

Kids don’t always listen to their teachers, and they don’t always listen to their parents, either. Through the (ISC)2 Safe and Secure Online Program, we’re able to bring in an objective third party who is highly trained in online security and safety, to kids in classrooms all over the world. They provide credibility and knowledge about online safety that kids can really learn from. To date, the program has helped educate over 100,000 children globally on how to become, and remain, secure online.

The (ISC)2 Foundation connects highly skilled IT pros with students, teachers and the general public so that they can learn how to secure their online life. What is your mission? What type of global progress are you seeing?

Our mission is to empower people to secure their online life through awareness and education programs. When I started two years ago, there were 200 volunteers in the Safe and Secure Online program. Now we have over 1000 volunteers. We were in four countries initially, and now we are in seven. In addition to the classroom program, our volunteers are working on developing useful online resources that will be available next year and we are expanding our program to include senior citizens as well, since they are also highly vulnerable.

Additionally, since the inception of the program, we’ve seen quite an upswing of children interested in pursuing careers in the IT profession which is extremely important in developing a strong security workforce of the future.

I'm sure many would like to spread the positive message and teach Internet safety to kids. How can they get involved? What are the prerequisites?

In order to get involved in Safe and Secure Online, you have to first be a member of (ISC)2 and then register on the (ISC)2 Safe and Secure Online web page. Once you’ve registered as a volunteer, you’ll be enrolled in a training program and may be subject to a background check, depending on the rules of your home country. But if you’re not a member of (ISC)2 we encourage you to go to the web site and request a presentation for your child’s school, sports club, scouting group, etc., or to tell a teacher about the program.

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