NCSA Launches Online Security Program for Students, Teachers
With data from the 2008 K-12 National Baseline Study on Cyberethics, Cybersafety, and Cybersecurity showing that less than 25 percent of educators feel they are able to properly instruct their students how to stay safe while online, the National Cyber Security Alliance has launched the Cyber Security Awareness Volunteer Education Program (C-SAVE).
The program seeks to recruit professional specialists in cybersecurity and IT security to donate their time and expertise to helping both teachers and students develop the skills necessary to keep their computers safe and themselves insulated from some types of content while engaged in online pursuits.
"There is an Internet safety and security knowledge gap," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of NCSA. "As we evolve into Web based culture, our schools have not kept pace in teaching our youth to develop the skills they need to stay safe and secure online."
In addition to providing help from IT professionals, C-SAVE also aims to help teachers better prepare their students for Internet use through classroom instruction. The program offers detailed lesson plans and supplemental learning materials, all designed by veteran of the United States Department of Education. The lessons can be found on the NCSA Web site at www.staysafeonline.org/content/c-save.
Additionally, through a partnership between NCSA and teacher professional development provider CyberSmart, the site offers free lessons for teachers to use in instructing students how to prevent and avoid "cyberbullying," the practice of threatening others via online chatrooms and social networking sites.
"Schools and parents have a responsibility to ensure that students can use computers safely," said Bill Sanderson, principal of the International Studies Academy high school in San Francisco. "C-SAVE will help better educate our children by leveraging the expertise of those who bring significant life experience making computers more secure. In turn, this program will also allow our teachers to better understand the online challenges our students face and better prepare them to harness the power of the Internet safely and securely."
Also available at StaySafeOnline.org are tips for general home computer safety from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, the results of research studies on cybersecurity, and regular news, information, and advice items about online safety and related topics.
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.