Grade 8 students at Central Middle school learned about online safety, password protection and in-demand cyber security jobs during a visit from Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services, in advance of World Password Day.
“Raising cyber-aware adults begins with conversations today,” said Sims. “As the minister responsible for government information security, and a former teacher, I understand the importance of cyber safety and education to keep our kids safe when they play, learn and socialize online.”
Last year, $14 billion was spent on cyber crime in Canada. By 2021, cyber crime is estimated to cost $6 trillion globally. As criminals become more sophisticated and technology advances, these numbers will continue to climb. Government, businesses, parents, teachers, students, members of the community and all organizations need to work together to remain vigilant about online security.
“In the ever-changing world of social media and the online world, continuing to educate students on the importance of cyber safety, privacy settings and their online presence is vital,” said Sam Jingfors, vice-president, Safer Schools Together. “Empowering students as early as possible to use their devices responsibly puts them in the best position to be successful now and in the future.”
Cyber crime and security also create demand for IT talent locally, provincially, nationally and globally. According to industry experts, there will be at least 3.5 million job openings in this area worldwide by 2021.
“Providing students with cyber security knowledge and skills will give them the boost they need to explore and take advantage of the well-paying and in-demand IT jobs of the future,” said Sims. “In less than a decade, the young people here with me in this classroom could very well be the future threat hunters, security analysts or technicians in our security operations centre.”
Cyber essentials for youth – tips for staying safe online:
- Use strong passwords. Do not share them.
- Do not click on suspicious links or attachments. Think before you click!
- People may not be who they say they are online.
- Keep an eye on your devices. Do not allow them to be borrowed or stolen.
- Be kind online.
- Report anything suspicious to an adult.
- In February 2019, the B.C. government invested $160,000 to provide over 190 online safety sessions to more than 19,000 students in grades 3-12 throughout the province.
- Students will learn the importance of a positive digital reputation, protecting their privacy online and details on how to use ERASE (expect respect and a safe education), an anonymous reporting tool in response to bullying and other concerns.
- During the 2018-19 school year, the Ministry of Education expanded the provincial ERASE strategy to focus on social media and online safety.
- According to the Government of Canada:
- 60% of teens say they would share their passwords with friends.
- 36% of teens have full or partial public profiles on their social networks.
- 94% of Canadians use a laptop or desktop computer to access the internet, 74% use a smartphone and 58% use a tablet.
- On average, the provincial government experiences 240 million unauthorized access attempts daily, or 2,778 per second, on its information systems. In response, the Province regularly upgrades IT security to increase protection from threats, such as malicious emails and websites.
- Government is committed to strong privacy and security controls and is working to increase awareness of best practices for information technology throughout the public sector.
ERASE (expect respect and a safe education): www.erase.gov.bc.ca
Resources to help keep children and youth safe online: https://www.cybertip.ca/app/en/internet_safety
For a comic book illustration to help youth better understand and navigate privacy issues online, visit:
May 2 is World Password Day: https://nationaltoday.com/world-password-day/
For high-resolution photos of the classroom session on cybersecurity, visit: http://ow.ly/AOlF30oA2uq