17 Elementary Schools Participate in New City-Wide Initiative – Cyber Safety Day New Orleans
New Orleans (October 10, 2018) – The nonprofit Center for Cyber Safety and Education (Center) teamed up with local businesses to provide 2,308 elementary school children with free cyber safety training materials during the first-ever Cyber Safety Day – New Orleans, as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Schools that registered for Cyber Safety Day received the award-winning Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures: lesson on Privacy. The program, conducted Wednesday city-wide, taught children how to use the internet in a safe and secure way. Students learned that they should never share their full name, address, phone number, gender, age, plans, or password with anyone online. The takeaway message is that “online friends are not the same as real friends.”
“I think it’s absolutely important to start early.” said Cherie Blue, 3rd grade teacher at Fannie C. Williams Charter School. “I surveyed my students before the lesson to learn what kind of things they were doing on the internet, and they are doing a lot of things I do, like Snapchat and Facebook. So, they need to be safe because there is a lot of people preying on kids and they need the knowledge to protect themselves,” added Blue.
The Center’s Children’s Internet Usage Study of kids in grades 4-8 found that:
- 90% have at least one device (phone, tablet, or computer in their bedroom) to access the internet.
- 40% have connected or chatted with a stranger online. Of those youth, 53% shared their phone number, 30% texted the stranger, and 15% tried to meet the stranger.
“No one is immune to the dangers of the internet and with the children getting online younger and younger, the danger grows. Any child, in a big city or small town, in a public school or private school, can fall prey to cyberbullying, comprised privacy and more. There are countless apps, video games, and websites where children can interact with complete strangers. Yet, children do not understand the dangers associated with their online activities,” said Patrick Craven, Director of the Center.
Introduced in the fall of 2016 by the Center and legendary cartoonist Jim Davis, Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures include cartoons, comic books, posters, trading cards, and stickers that show Garfield and friends tackling cyber safety issues such as privacy, the dangers of posting online, online etiquette, cyberbullying, and more. The program has already made great impact. A study of over 500 students who participated in Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures during the 2017-2018 school year, increased their cyber safety knowledge by 28 percent.
Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures Series won the national Learning® Magazine 2019 Teachers’ Choice Award for the classroom. Teachers chose the Garfield materials for their ability to engage elementary children and foster retention of core cyber safety lessons. Teachers’ Choice is the only awards program that is exclusively judged by teachers in the classroom.
“Garfield is an iconic cartoon character. It’s someone the kids know, it’s a character that they can interact with and it’s someone that they can learn from. Hopefully it’s a program that continues to expand, I think elementary school is the right age group to focus on,” said Deuce McAllister, former New Orleans Saints’ running back, who visited the classrooms with Garfield during Cyber Safety Day.
In addition, the Center for Cyber Safety and Education was recognized by Mayor LaToya Cantrell for its Cyber Safety Day initiative at a luncheon during (ISC)2 Security Congress in New Orleans.
“As a mother of a 10-year-old daughter, our young people need to be protected even as we allow them to experience technology. This initiative is truly a big deal because we want our young people to know that not only do they matter, but they have protection and support of the cyber safety community that is truly deeper than any other city in the united states and around the world,” said Cantrell.
The event was made possible thanks to the generous contributions from individuals and New Orleans companies that are committed to make cyber safety education a priority in the classroom, including Cox Communications, GE Digital, Metairie Bank, TraceSecurity, Lucid, Marriott New Orleans, (ISC)² and New Orleans & Company.
Craven added, “securing our future should be a joint effort between the community and the schools. Today, we were able to see that in play. It is great to see local companies step up and make a concerted effort to provide tools to children on how to be safe and secure online.”
“Parents need to go home and check the devices their kids are using and ask themselves whether or not their kids have the education to safely use it. The more schools do digital, the more technology we have in the classrooms, the more important is this program going to become,” said Rob Theriot, Director of Security Services for TraceSecurity.
About Center for Cyber Safety and Education
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education (Center), is a non-profit charitable trust committed to making the cyber world a safer place for everyone. The Center works to ensure that people across the globe have a positive and safe experience online through their award-winning educational programs, scholarships, and research. Visit www.IAmCyberSafe.org to learn more.
Name: Beatriz Parres
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