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Accuracy

Accuracy

Cyber Security and STEM Education Go Hand in Hand

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If you’ve been in the education industry long at all, you know how much kids love STEM. The subject brings a number of benefits, including critical thinking, technical skills, and more. Its entire field is on the rise — according to Forbes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census predicts a 13 percent increase in science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs in the United States between 2017 and 2027. And it’s not just being taught for jobs — the topic might just be our nation’s next line of defense against cyberattacks, too.

The main place where STEM and cybersecurity cross paths is technology. When we dive into what cybersecurity actually is, it involves coding, programming, and more — all of which require some serious scientific thinking to plan and implement.

STEM also affects cybersecurity in real life as our students grow. By teaching these two subjects together, experts say you can help to develop a skilled cyber workforce, enhance national security, and advance technology and the economy.

Three Tips to Include STEM Skills in Your Cybersecurity Lessons

With a little planning and creativity, combining STEM and cybersecurity lessons can be pretty simple.

1). Cover the Basics

Cybersecurity lessons may include a lot of familiarization with phishing tactics, strong password making, and the like, but the people committing the crimes are also deep into the tech space. Help kids learn about malware and how it works — this isn’t just a STEM skill, it’s a way to help them prevent those pesky viruses from attacking their devices down the line. Who knows — the lesson you teach might spark an interest in a high-level cybersecurity job or STEM degree in the future.

2). Don’t Shy Away From Studying Hackers

The science piece of STEM includes tons of data. In cyber and information security, it can boost students’ overall understanding to look into what the hackers are doing. Knowing the prevalence and common practices of the guys on the other side can help students prevent the crimes from occurring in their lives, too.

· Who is being hacked?

· When are they being hacked?

· How often are they being hacked?

· What is the average age group of individuals being hacked? 

· What social media platform is most susceptible to hackers?

Knowing all about cybersecurity threats, hackers, and their victims is likely to spark many more tech-related conversations in the classroom.

3). Give Cybersecurity Curriculum a Go

If you’re ready to teach both STEM skills and cybersecurity to your high school students at the same time, a carefully curated software can help. SurfWisely is an engaging, gamified program that uses the competitive edge of sports to entice students in cybersecurity education. Our skill set is designed to make a difference in the real world — preventing phishing, malware, and so much more.

If our cybersecurity + stem program sounds like it might be a good fit for your school, feel free to contact us at any time. We’d love to support your learners as they dive into these important topics.

Accuracy

Don’t Let Your Students Fall Victim to Identity Theft

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SurfWisely Synopsis:

Why does this matter to me?

For Parents: Identity theft is real and scary, and unfortunately, your children are not immune. How can you protect them in this area? A little bit of training in proper cybersecurity practices can go a long way.

For PTAs: Keeping students safe on school computers takes a significant amount of training and supervision. One of the dangers you need to protect them from is child identity theft. Teaching kids what this is can make a large impact, and we have a program that can do just that in a fun and engaging fashion.

For Principals: You have enough worries on your plate — student ID theft shouldn’t be one. By implementing a high-quality cybersecurity curriculum, you can ensure kids understand what this danger is as well as how to prevent it from happening to themselves. Our easy to use and engaging platform makes the princess simple, too.

More About Student Identity Theft Prevention

Cybersecurity isn’t just a topic for kids to learn about for future purposes. Online dangers can affect them in their youth, too. Particularly identity thieves, who have recently proven to be a significant issue for students today.

Some common types of identity theft include medical identity theft, tax identity theft, credit theft, and more. Unfortunately, kids can fall victim to every kind.

Some of the best tips to help students prevent identity theft for students and adults alike include:

  • Keep social security cards at home, preferably in parent possession. Teach students to not give out their social security numbers to illegitimate sources.
  • Avoid sharing sensitive information such as phone numbers, addresses, debit or credit card numbers, bank accounts, and birthdays, especially when people or online forms ask for it. 
  • Review social media posts that can aid in the information-gathering process for identity theft.
  • Use smartphone security features, including fingerprint or face identification as often as possible.
  • Utilize firewall and virus protection on personal and school computers.
  • Changing passwords after data breaches at financial institutions or other accounts that have personal information stored within them.
  • Teach students to not send personal or financial information via email, as phishing scams can often be difficult to spot.
  • Signing up for identity protection services when it is deemed necessary (past breeches, etc).
  • Make a recovery plan in case identity theft occurs, including reaching out to local police and law enforcement and contacting credit bureaus. 

One of the strongest identity theft protection measures for students is freezing credit reports. A credit freeze ensures no one can open new credit cards or loans with a student’s social security card — which are processes they aren’t likely to do in high school anyway. It can keep them safe from sneaky financial actions that can cause so much harm to their future endeavors.

This action won’t lower the future score, either. It simply keeps students safe before their credit scores start to take off.If you’re looking for support in training your students to prevent them from becoming victims of identity theft and other cybersecurity threats, our online internet safety program can help. Our gamified app is both fun and informational, helping kids learn about identity theft, cyberbullying, malware, and so much more. We’d be happy to fill you in on the details anytime — just contact our team and tell them when you’re ready to chat.

Accuracy

Five Skills Students Need to Protect Themselves Online

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SurfWisely Synopsis

Why does this matter to me?

Parents — Keeping kids safe online can feel like a full-time job. It can be difficult to know where to start, which is why we’ve put together a list to help you out. Teach your kids about scam emails and pop-ups, keeping their personal information private, using strong passwords, understanding internet permanence, and the fact that they can come to you anytime questions arise. For more detailed internet safety tips and tricks, dive into the post below.

Principals and School Administrators — Online safety brings a whole new realm to keeping kids protected on school grounds. How can you possibly overcome such a significant feat? Starting small can help, so we’ve put together a list of the first skills to teach in the post below. Our gamified, easy-to-use software can help you solve the problem, too.

Tech Teachers — You know all about cybersecurity and internet safety, but do you have time to include every piece of these important topics in your educational technology lesson plans? If not, SurfWisely may be the perfect solution. Jump down to the bottom of this post or reach out to our team today to learn more.

Simple Internet Safety Skills to Teach Your Students

Whether it’s distance learning, apps, or social media interaction, our kids are spending time in the digital world more than ever before. And unfortunately, with this increase in internet usage comes heightened safety concerns

We know it’s our job to keep our kids safe, even when the task seems larger than we can accomplish on our own. So let’s dive into a few simple skills that are easy to teach, but still leave a lasting impact on cyber safety understanding:

  1. Spotting Malware Ads and Emails — One of the easiest ways to get in trouble (or run into technology problems) on the internet is by accidentally allowing malware to enter your device. Malware can include pop-up advertisements on websites — typically with unlikely claims (you’ve won a million dollars, for example). It can also come in messages that ask you to click on a link or insert phishing information. Encourage students to never open a message from a sender they do not know, and share that the links in these conversations may not be safe. Have students come to you if an advertisement doesn’t seem right, as you’ll be able to help them spot the differences between safe ads and malware popups.
  2. Keeping Personal Information Private — Most students already know that they shouldn’t share information online due to identity theft. To instill the practice further, you may need to look into more age-appropriate concerns. Bring up the consequences of sharing full names, addresses, phone numbers, and schools attended on unfamiliar sites or to people they do not know face-to-face online. This article on college admission halts due to social media activity is a great place to start.
  3. Password Protection — Some students may not think a solid password is important, while others may think the simplest versions are the best ones to choose. Encourage long passwords without personal information such as names, family members, pets, or birth dates. Teach students about the importance of using a mixture of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Remind them to use different passwords for different sites. Maybe even have a fun activity once or twice a year where everyone changes passwords to encourage optimal usage time frames as well!
  4. Understanding Internet Permanence — “Everything you post on the internet stays there forever.” They’ve probably heard this before, but do they understand? Bring up examples of silly jokes from high school ruining job opportunities years down the line, and other similar challenges that come with digital footprints. Kids learn best from real-life lessons, and internet safety education is no different.
  5. Asking Questions — Remind kids that internet dangers aren’t something to be embarrassed about. Encourage sharing of questions and concerns — maybe even bring up some mishaps you’ve experienced personally to show kids that getting help from a trusted adult is no big deal. This can be helpful in preventing the dangers shared above as well as other worries such as cyberbullying and inappropriate content.

An Easy-to-Implement Platform to Help

Though the tips above can help, internet safety is a heavy topic with a lot of moving pieces to cover. If you’re looking for a simple way to share internet information with your students, reach out to the team at SurfWisely today. We offer engaging and all-inclusive internet safety software for school use. We teach through gamified, sports-based lessons that are fun for kids, and our program integrates into your school system for easy use on your end, too.

Let’s work together to keep our elementary school, middle school, and high school students safe online — one engaging and effective lesson at a time.

Accuracy

Sharing the Dangers of Social Media to Students Who Have Never Lived Without It

SurfWisely Synopsis

Why does this matter to me?

Parents — If you have teens or preteens, there’s a good chance social media is one of the most-used tools in your home. How can you keep your kids safe while giving them the social outlet that has almost become a requirement in our society? By monitoring slightly and enforcing privacy rules like strong passwords and private profiles, you can make a positive impact in otherwise uncharted space.

Principals and School Administrators — Your students are accessing social media platforms, no matter how many efforts have gone into blocking their use during school hours. How can you ensure they’re safe while doing so? We believe five simple tips can help — verified connections, privacy settings, lack of location sharing, strong passwords, and reporting cyberbullying right away. Teach these tips to your students for protection at school and at home alike.

Tech Teachers — Your students are on computers —with social media access— for the majority of your class, as well as a large chunk of the time they spend at home. How can you keep them safe in the process? We believe five simple steps can help, though you’re likely an expert in this area, too. Our gamified, easy-to-implement software can help you teach these skills if you find yourself not having the time.

The Five Tips We Find Most Effective in Keeping Students Safe on Social Media

It’s true — today’s young people have lived every moment of their lives in the world of social media use. From screentime and selfies to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat, and more, social networking sites are simply the norm. This makes it much more difficult to spot the dangers that its use can bring. 

To help you cover these important lessons with your kids, we’ve shared some strong easy-to-implement social media safety tips for students:

  1. Know (and verify) all connections — It’s mostly common knowledge that we shouldn’t be connecting with strangers on the internet. However, it may be important to stress this with students at times — especially that they shouldn’t be chatting with people they don’t know even if they’re the same age or seem to live in neighboring towns. Why? Because fake accounts are created all the time. If something seems fishy, it probably is, and our kids need to be well-aware of the often-dangerous tricks people play online. Their self-esteem, mental health, and physical safety may be at stake.
  2. Keep your settings private — Privacy is something that doesn’t always feel like a big deal to adolescents. Try to bring in some lessons about why it should be. You may even want to provide lessons on what the different social media privacy settings look like. Some students might not be aware that everything they post can be seen by complete strangers if their security isn’t up to par.
  3. Never share your own location — Many of today’s social media sites offer the ability to tag posts with the user’s current location, or even allow a general type of tracking while the app is running in their phone’s background. This leads to obvious safety concerns related to stalking and other dangerous, real-life crimes, and our students need to be aware of the consequences a simple photo tag can bring.
  4. Use a strong password — We mention password strength in our last post about general internet safety skills for students. Unique, difficult-to-break combinations of eight characters or more can help protect students’ accounts from being used maliciously — whether the actions would potentially lead to identity theft, harm their reputations, or have a negative impact on the health and safety of their friends.
  5. Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult right away — Students likely know all about cyberbullying, but it’s helpful to go over its signs and detrimental negative effects, as well as what to do when the action is spotted. Remind your students that it’s always okay to go to an adult for help with cyberbullying, and that their quick actions could save their peers from a great deal of harm.

Social media accounts are a large part of our students’ lives, no matter what potential dangers it can bring. That’s why we need to be proactive in teaching its proper uses, as well as the negative impacts on safety and well-being that can come from its pages. 

If you’re looking for support in teaching your students about social media safety and internet security in general, feel free to reach out to our team at SurfWisely. We’d love to help you learn more about our easy-to-implement and effective game-based curriculum and how it can benefit the online lives of kids today.

Accuracy

How to Spot the “Fishiest” Phishing Scams — Cybersecurity for Students

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SurfWisely Synopsis

Why does this matter to me?

Parents — Our kids are spending more and more time online, and there are more and more dangers out there that can potentially affect them, too. Phishing scams can lead to loss of personal information, identity theft, password hacks, malware, and more. Luckily, they can be easily avoided by learning their characteristics early on.

Principals and School Administrators — It’s your job to keep kids safe, and your school’s budget wants you to keep devices protected, too. One easy way to improve school safety for kids, computers, and tablets is to implement training on phishing scams. If your kids don’t click on malicious links or advertisements, problems like the loss of personal information, school cybersecurity threats, and malware can be stopped in their tracks.

Tech Teachers — You know all about the dangers of phishing scams, but how can you share this information with students on top of your already-full curriculum. Jump down to the bottom paragraph of this post and reach out to SurfWisely for a cybersecurity program that’s as simple as it is fun.

More About Teaching Students to Spot Phishing Scams

There are plenty of cybersecurity scams on the internet today, but phishing scams are often the most difficult to spot. Why? Because they look like they’re coming from real companies, and they play on our emotions with real-life concerns (credit card hacks, private information vulnerabilities, social networking concerns, etc.). It’s important for our students to be trained to spot them in their tracks, so they don’t end up being used as bait in cybersecurity attacks. 

What Are Phishing Scams?

Phishing scams are emails that come from hackers with security risks inside. They look like they are being sent by real companies at first glance. For example, you could get a message from Netflix that states your password needs updating. It has the company’s logo, but other aspects seem off.

The emails typically include links, and once you reach their site, they ask you to enter personal information like phone numbers, credit cards, passwords, social security numbers, and more. They can also lead to malware and other cyber threats on your device.

If you enter this information, a cyber attack will begin. You could have something as small as a password hacked, or something as large as identity theft.

Aspects of Phishing Scam Emails to Look Out For

Spotting phishing scams can be tricky, as common sense isn’t enough to stop them. By spotting the following characteristics, however, your students will be able to avoid them every time.

  • Mentions of suspicious online activity, update requirements, or other concerns
  • Claims of problems with your account
  • Requests for authentication on a mobile device or confirmation of private information
  • Demands for privacy setting changes
  • Password change requests for social media accounts
  • Offers or deals that seem “too good to be true”

Each of these requests will include a link to click on. Be sure not to follow it, as it won’t go to the site the email is supposedly from. It’ll go to the hacker instead, and they’ll have the chance to keep any sensitive information you provide.

Some signs emails are from cybercriminals and not actual companies include:

  • Logos that are similar, but not exactly the same as the ones you’ve seen before (pixelated, outdated, etc.)
  • Sender addresses other than the actual company’s email
  • Generic openings that do not include your name (“Hi, loyal customer” or “Dear friend”)

If you’re not sure if an email is a phishing scam, it’s a good idea to reach out to the supposed company. That way, they can tell you if the message was legitimate or if it’s something you need to avoid.

Share these tips with your students to build cyber safety knowledge and start their avoidance of phishing emails today. Feel free to let our team at SurfWisely know if you’d like additional support in teaching cybersecurity for kids, too. Our gamified, educational app is the perfect tool to keep kids safe, teaching internet safety topics in a simple, effective, and easy-to-implement way.

Accuracy

Cyber Security for Kids — Best Practices to Keep Kids Safe

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SurfWisely Synopsis

Why does this matter to me?

Parents — With the amount of time our students spend online today, we need to be proactive about cybersecurity and internet safety. Kids need to learn about protecting themselves, their friends, and their devices online. Implementing fun and engaging programming to teach them these skills can ensure they enjoy the lessons and take in the teachings, too.

Principals and School Administrators — With kids spending so much time on both school devices and smartphones, cybersecurity has become a part of your career. By teaching students to protect themselves, their friends, and their devices online, you can prevent troubles like identity theft, cyberbullying, viruses, and more. Gamified cybersecurity programming can make the process fun for everyone involved, too.

Tech Teachers — Cybersecurity is at the heart of your career, but it’s not always something students want to hear. By implementing a gamified program to teach these skills, you take one topic off your already-full plate and protect students’ online safety at the same time. Hop down to the last paragraph of this post to learn more.

More Cybersecurity Best Practices for Kids

Our kids are growing up in a whole new world. Because of the presence the internet plays in our society, students need to learn to protect themselves online at an early age. If they’re old enough to be browsing online, they’re ready to learn the basics of cyber security.

Cyber security for kids can be broken down into the three categories shown below:

Protecting Yourself

The internet can be a dangerous place — yes, even for yourself. This is a lesson that kids need to learn in order to be as safe as possible while using technology. Some top tools to teach your students about protecting themselves online include:

  1. Keeping private information, such as birth dates, addresses, full names, phone numbers, credit cards, and bank information private to prevent identity theft.
  2. When entering sensitive information, ensuring that the site is safe, the device is private, and encrypted text is utilized at all times. 
  3. Password management skills and the real-life effects that can come from hacking and similar cyber threats and cyber-attacks.

Protecting Your Friends

These days, students can protect others online as much as they can protect themselves. The most effective way they can support those around them through internet safety is to stop cyberbullying in its tracks.

Kids can help prevent and stop cyberbullying attempts by:

  1. Acting as a positive role model while utilizing social media, always promoting kindness and respect for others with posts, tags, shares, etc.
  2. Telling an adult right away when cyberbullying occurs. 
  3. Standing up for friends who fall victim to cyberbullying on social networking when it is safe to do so.

Protecting Your Devices

Protecting the technology used to access the internet is another huge topic for students to master. It’s essential is saving the high-priced tools they use for homework —and real work in the future— and it helps protect the devices that belong to their school districts, too.

  1. Learn to spot malware and other phishing scams, as well as the negative effects that can occur when they’re clicked on — hacked accounts, stolen data or private information, internally damaged hardware and devices, etc.
  2. Use privacy settings, strong passwords, and multi-factor authentication to ensure only authorized users can access devices in your care.
  3. Use wifi passwords and protection to secure private connections at all times.

As you can see, cyber safety isn’t always common sense. These lessons need to be taught to students to protect them against hackers, cybercriminals, cyberbullies, and more. Incorporate the tips above into your class curriculum or at-home lesson plans, and reach out to the team at SurfWisely if you need any support. Our easy-to-implement, gamified software is a fun and effective way to teach cyber security for kids.