Since our Kids Cyber Academy launched in October 2021, scores of educators, kids, and families have taken advantage of the five engaging and meaningful modules we’ve made available to date. These lessons were designed to support children, parents and teachers so they can use the internet in safe and positive ways; they cover a range of topics, from using strong passwords to protecting online privacy.
Children have doubled their screen time during the pandemic though much of that is attributed to school closures, quarantining, or lack of other activity options. Regardless they’re also now more likely to encounter risks such as exposure to inappropriate content, unwanted contact, and even the work of cybercriminals. We created the Kids Cyber Academy to support parents and teachers who wish to help their children practice the digital literacy skills that can help them navigate online spaces in safe and responsible ways. We are grateful that the early feedback we’ve gotten from around the world confirms we’re doing just that.
“The resources are excellent,” said U.K. teacher Zara Darchambaud. “The follow-up discussion questions, and quiz really embed the learning from each of the videos. It is easy to use but has a big impact on the pupils’ understanding of staying safe online. We add one of the units to our parent newsletter each week for families to use at home.”
Talking about the age-appropriateness of Cyber Academy lessons, Naoimh Riordan, a 3rd grade teacher at Rockboro Primary School in Ireland explained that any doubts she may have had were quickly put to rest. “Initially, I thought that they may be too young and wouldn’t understand the topics, however they were fully engaged, knew a lot more than I had anticipated, and they now know the correct cyber terms for what they did know,” Riordan said. “The lessons are very well put together, and with the video, Q&A Discussion and Kahoot Quiz, the pupils absolutely loved it. It is user friendly, interesting and very engaging for both pupils and the teacher.”
From the Philippines, parent Diane Ramo captured the mission of Cyber Academy beautifully, saying, “There is a real need for basic digital privacy education. We should teach the kids while they’re young to help them manage their digital lives effectively as they get older.”
These are just a few of the many comments we’ve received so far. We’re excited to see many communities embracing the lessons and becoming part of the global community to make the internet a better place for everyone.
Over the next two months we’ll be taking 2 important steps: the first is to release our first five modules in multiple languages including Spanish, Chinese, French, Polish, Japanese and Italian. The second is to launch five additional lessons, each of which includes a short, animated video, a conversation guide to support teachers/parents, and a quiz and fun activity sheet to reinforce the learning and even engage other family members at home. These new lessons along with their learning objectives include:
- Camera Safety: Understand what information is gathered when you take a picture with your phone, learn what happens when it is shared, and practice five skills to use a camera safely while having fun.
- Time Online: Understand what quality time online means, how time online fits into a typical busy day and 5 skills to make the most out of your time online. This is essentially a way to encourage kids to view screen time in the context of all other healthy ways they might use their time in a typical day.
- Media: Understand what media is and why it is important. Learn 5 media skills that help you think more carefully about what you see online and figure out what you can and cannot trust.
- Safety Settings: Understand how safety settings protect you and your personal information and learn 5 safety skills that are important to use.
- Kindness: Understand the importance of kindness online, how to deal with unkindness, and how you can make positive choices online every day.
I want to thank our global community who have joined us in the effort to improve children’s safety and awareness online in a fun, interactive and engaging way. As we’ve said before, the need for this type of education is great. Every child in the world deserves to learn how to use the internet in safe, positive and productive ways. We remain committed to our mission and look forward to working alongside others who share the same goals.
Lynette Owens is Vice President of Global Consumer Education & Marketing at Trend Micro and Founder of the Internet Safety for Kids and Families program. With 25+ years in the tech industry, Lynette speaks and blogs regularly on how to help kids become great digital citizens. She works with communities and 1:1 school districts across the U.S. and around the world to support online safety, digital and media literacy and digital citizenship education. She is a board member of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, an advisory committee member of the Digital Wellness Lab, and serves on the advisory boards of INHOPE and U.S. Safer Internet Day.
Follow her on Twitter @lynettetowens.