It is Australian Cyber Week and to celebrate, we’ve decided to dive into why teachers need to start teaching students about cybersecurity.
We teach children about crossing the street and avoiding strangers from a young age, and it is now just as important that we do the same with cyber safety. Students are being introduced to new technologies at a rapid rate from a young age. Now, hackers and fraudsters are increasingly targeting young students online.
Why do students need to be aware of cybersecurity?
Students are every bit as skilled as their parents when it comes to modern technology. They know how to download apps, create multiple accounts, circumvent age restrictions and access “blocked” sites. Further to this, young students have their own way of seeing and understanding the world. For example, sharing their internet access or personal information is often not seen as ‘big deal’.
Hackers are now targeting more children as they have easy access to the internet and smartphone apps, and are not educated on cyber risks. When targeting adults, cybercriminals will send phishing emails or links, hoping users will click on them. When targeting children or teenagers, they often disguise the attack through “free games” links and advertisements.
When should we start teaching students about cyber safety?
While it may seem like the only option is to block computer access, it may not be the best long-term approach. Students will always find a way around restrictions, and by not teaching cyber safety, cyber-attacks will continue to increase.
Schools are well versed when it comes to teaching about cyber-bullying; however, students are very naive to cyberattacks. Teaching cyber safety doesn’t need to be dull or difficult – by using age-appropriate teaching materials, you can link safety tips to situations students can relate to, and make it easy to understand for all ages.
How can you teach cyber safety?
There are many well-established cybersecurity programs available for schools. However, finding time in the week to teach these safety modules will likely result in over-stretching teachers and students. Ideally, teachers should be integrating cybersecurity tips into other lessons where it is relevant.
For example, if students are signing up to a new educational tool in class, you can talk about the dangers and ramifications of signing up to an untrusted website. Alternatively, when working on iPads with younger students, you can reiterate that they should never give out their address to anyone on the internet.
However, the responsibility for teaching cyber safety is not just on teachers; parents need to become more involved as well. By parents becoming more familiar with cyber safety information, they can better support and guide their child through new technology. If you are unsure about how to approach a cybersecurity matter, you are best to remain cautious and check in with the Australian Cyber Security Centre for support.
Cyber attacks are one of the greatest threats to businesses, governments and societies. When new technologies are introduced, they often carry new, unpredictable and damaging vulnerabilities. However, the future does not need to be bleak when it comes to cybersecurity or avoiding cyber attacks. As we continue to incorporate technology into every aspect of our lives, we need to take opportunities to teach our students basic cybersecurity skills and prepare them for the future.
For more information on how your student devices can be protected from cyber attacks, contact the friendly eStorm team today. If you would like more information on classroom technology, read our recent blog on how to incorporate technology into the curriculum.