Security affects almost everyone. We encounter security as we walk into a bank, when we walk down streets, as we surf the Web, as we lock our cars before going to work. Security issues and risks present themselves to us in almost every facet of our lives, and more importantly at increasingly earlier stages of our lives.
As technology advances our population, vulnerabilities and risks presented by that technology force us as a society become more cognizant, more aware of our surroundings and the increased risks we are faced with, merely living a normal life. One stark reality is that the young people in our society are faced with some of the most advanced technologies ever seen by generations before them. Unfortunately, these same young people are also some of the most vulnerable. This is quite a predicament; a predicament for which there are solutions and organizations focused on delivering those solutions.
One such solution is the Kids Safe Online Program. The MN.IT Services Information Security team coordinates a state-wide safety poster contest, in conjunction with the contest sponsor, the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS ISAC). Grade school students who enter the contest are judged on the following criteria:
- poster concept
This year, students were asked to create original artwork that demonstrated concepts such as a) only visiting safe websites, b) Interacting with others and not bullying or threatening others on the Internet, and c) protecting against identity theft. Students who won at the state level were entered into a national contest. Minnesota had two winners (from 140 posters submitted by 16 states) at the national level: Amy, an 8th grader, and Madeline, a 5th grader, both students at Transfiguration Catholic School in Oakdale. Amy and Madeline’s winning posters will be part of the 2014 Cyber Security Calendar.
During the 2013 Secure360 Conference, we recognized students from Minnesota who were a part of the poster contest. More information on the “Kids Safe Online” poster contest can be found here.
As in all aspects of our lives, education and the understanding of basic online safety concepts is a key ingredient for safety and security online in later years. Like no other time in the past, the importance of cyber-safety awareness at all ages looms as one of our most important needs. Programs like Kids Safe Online are evidence that our work is paying off. Congratulations to all the winners!