Interactive Learning

FBI Launches Student Online Safety Challenge

With number of phishing scandals and data leaks continuing to grow, young children are particularly susceptible to these tactics because they lack the necessary skills to recognize suspicious online practices.  The FBI is reopening its Safe Online Surfing (SOS) Internet Challenge for the new school year to provide students in grades three to eighth the skills to navigate the web responsibly.

The SOS program teaches students web terminology and how to recognize safe and trustworthy sites through interactive lessons with games that break down specific concepts, such as creating secure passwords and recognizing online predators. Each lesson is tailored to a grade level.

Teachers can sign up for the program, assign activities and review student final exam results. Final exam scores earn schools points based on student participation levels. Each month from September to May, the FBI will award an SOS certificate to the top-scoring school in three different participation categories.

"Many children and teens see internet-enabled devices as essential to their lives--needed for everything from schoolwork to social connections," said Jonathan Cox, the unit chief of the FBI's Office of Public Affairs. "The fact that these tools feel like second nature, however, makes it easy for young people to forget the risks they can face online. The goals of the FBI's SOS program are to make children aware of these threats and give them the knowledge they need to steer around them."

The free program is also available for students to complete at their own pace. The entire curriculum is also available in Spanish.

All of the SOS activities are available on the FBI's website.


About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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