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2010-10-14

NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Safe and Secure Online Equips Kids as the Digital/Internet “Expert” Generation  

Free to Schools, (ISC)²® Awareness Program Acknowledges Majority of 11-14 Year Olds Regularly Access Internet for Social NetworkingTop Ten Insights Help Parents/Teachers Understand Evolving Risks

London, UK, Oct 14 2010: The latest (ISC)2 Safe and Secure Online program for schools tackles the generation gap that exists in protecting children and families from evolving online dangers, covering issues such as cyberbullying, grooming, online reputation, online hijacking, identity theft and more. Launched today with the aim of helping children become the expert generation for developing a secure digital world,  the updated program content reflects insights from volunteers, teachers, and the more than 38,000 children that have attended Safe and Secure Online awareness sessions in the US , UK, and Hong Kong. The program has been enhanced to encourage skills and judgment, as well as awareness, with evidence showing most children are networking online, some as young as seven years of age. 

Developed by  (ISC)² (“ISC-squared”), the world’s largest information security professional body, with the expertise and support of Childnet International, a charity that aims to make the Internet a great and safe place for children, Safe and Secure Online helps schools promote e-safety and security, providing volunteer information security experts to lead interactive sessions for children.   Content within the 40-minute class room presentation has been updated with scenarios and activities to help children understand the latest trends in social networking, gaming, downloading, malware and privacy, along with the risks, legal implications, and social behaviours that are evolving alongside them. It is unique in that it offers certified experts the tools to teach children to develop both information security and online safety skills.   

A sample of 299 children between the ages of 11 and 14 who participated in Safe and Secure Online showed that the vast majority (89 percent) had access to the Internet at home. YouTube and Facebook have become the most popular Websites.  Safe and Secure Online volunteers have also learned of children as young as seven years old having social network profiles. These observations are in line with the developing body of research into online behaviour, including this Autumn’s edition of the biannual Youth TGI survey which covers the media habits of 7 to 19 year-olds in Britain , and found that 52 percent of 7 to 10 year-olds surveyed use the Internet for social networking (e.g. Facebook). For 11 to 14-year-olds, the figure is 80 percent. Ofcom’s 2010 UK media literacy report shows 25% of home internet users aged 8-12 have a profile on at least one of Facebook, Bebo, or MySpace, despite these sites having a minimum age requirement of 13 years.

“When we reach out to children, we find they are very interested in understanding what they should be doing to protect themselves and their favourite online activities.  This is why we have enhanced the program not just to reflect the issues they need to be aware of, but also to help them take control of their online world.  At the same time, parents and teachers need help to support their efforts, as it is the children, not those guiding them, who are  navigating this brave new world,” says John Colley,  CISSP, managing director, EMEA, (ISC)2.

Program enhancements include the release of the Safe and Secure Top 10 observations to be maintained by classroom volunteers to help parents and teachers anticipate changes in risks and behaviour. These cover changes in grooming techniques, for example the growing use of over 18 games by cyber-predators to target underage users;  how friends are becoming the most common risk online, and the emerging legal framework that has children inadvertently putting their parents at risk. 

“Experience tells us that children will behave differently online than they do in the real world. It’s not only important for them to be wary of danger; they must also learn how to respect their privacy, identity and online reputation. The objective has to be to develop good instincts as well as awareness, and programs like Safe and Secure Online are playing a very important role in reaching out to as many kids as possible, helping them create a healthy online world in which they can flourish,” says Ellen Ferguson, Director of Education, Childnet International.

The “Safe and Secure Online” initiative was first launched in the United Kingdom in the Spring of 2006. About 300 (ISC)2-certified volunteers are available to present the program to schools in the U.S., U.K. and Hong Kong.  The compelling materials have been developed by Childnet’s Education Team, drawing on their teacher expertise and regular work in schools, with consultation from the security professionals who deliver the program on behalf of (ISC)2 to any school or youth association at no cost. Volunteers reach out to schools of their own initiative, and several have a standing arrangement with their local schools. If you are a parent, educator or organisation and would like the Safe and Secure Online presentation delivered at your local school, or would like more information about the program, please visit https://cyberexchange.isc2.org/safe-secure.aspx or follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Recent Testimonials:

"I have heard from teachers that young children are using Facebook: it’s not just an issue for teenagers (even though Facebook is intended for 13s and over). I've also been made aware of incidents where older children have used social networking sites to drive campaigns against their former friends or their teachers. This has been quite sophisticated, setting up fake profiles, drawing people to them by phishing legitimate sites etc even though parents were monitoring their internet use. It is important young people especially understand what impact this can have, know how to react if they are targeted and find safe and secure ways to use technology.”

  • Martin Reynolds, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Safe and Secure Online volunteer  
    "This is one of the most comprehensive programs available."
  • Dr. David Barnard-Wills, research fellow, Department of Informatics and Systems Engineering, Cranfield University who has analysed Safe and Secure feedback as part of his research into online behaviour.
    “Having recently attended an Internet security session for parents at one of ourschools, I felt it important to write to let you know how much the Council value thesesessions. The session I attended was extremely well presented, and the audience of parents were extremely interested and I believe will take appropriate actions.”
  • Lea Dehaney, principal adviser (Staffing and Governance); Quality Assurance, Schools and Extended Services, London Borough of Bexley 
    “I applaud all of the volunteers who participate in programs like Safe and Secure Online and encourage all information security professionals and associations to get involved in helping kids be cyber safe.” 
  • Howard Schmidt, U.S. White House cybersecurity coordinator
    "In PSHE and citizenship classes, we cover a whole range of life skills and issues with children, but we don't claim to be the definitive experts on everything - especially the fast changing world of ICT. So, whenever possible, we try to invite the professionals in to speak directly to students, and that's what the (ISC)² program has been doing at Neale Wade for the last two years. The volunteers deliver professional, user-friendly, perfectly pitched presentations that students find really valuable and easy to understand. Students really appreciate the opportunity to fast-track their questions and concerns to an expert and take away sound advice about staying safe on the Internet.”
  • Janice Holdich, PSHE teacher with Neale Wade community College in March, Cambridgeshire
    “Clearly everyone [had] learned something very useful that they could take away and apply. It is easy to drop your guard when you think someone is a friend. What a great eye opener to see that on the Internet, not all is as it seems.”
  • Ron Hagy, assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts, US
    “I am very passionate about delivering the Safe and Secure Online program.  As a father, I have a natural instinct to want to protect all kids.  If this program helps save the life of just one child, it’s more the worth the investment of time.”
  • Brad Mathis, a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and dedicated Safe and Secure Online educator.

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