Today we live in a world that is increasingly online. Education, work, and community are all spheres that we participate in digitally, and this is not just true for adults. In 2015 a Pearson study found that sixty-six percent of middle school students in the U.S. have their own smartphone. The current generation of kids has never known a world without the vast possibilities and countless pitfalls of an internet connected society. Because of this, it’s important that childhood education includes the fundamentals of cyber security.
Just about any kid you meet understands the importance of fundamental physical security measures like locking your car or avoiding people who intend to do you harm, and similarly, they can also easily be taught the value of security online. The problem, however, is how do we make the foundational skills themselves stick consistently for every student in a given classroom?
It has been proven time and again that children (and adults) learn concepts and build habits much more readily when they are presented as a game. Our brains are evolutionarily wired to seek out novel experiences that will provide growth and pleasure. The elevated mood caused by playing a game we enjoy carries with it an increase in executive function. Concentration, decision making, and memory creation are all improved when we acquire knowledge in the context of an enjoyable experience, because it creates a deeper kind of learning than passively absorbing information. This deeper learning known as “generative learning” has been heavily studied and is associated with active participation in the acquisition of new knowledge. In short, a game the student enjoys creates many more points of connection for an individual than teaching methods such as lectures or reading assignments. Conversely, boredom is a clear impediment to learning. Going through the motions of teaching new skills in a classroom without some aspect of fun or relatability to the students is a quick way to ensure that those students put in the bare minimum, and it’s not their fault. That’s just the way humans work!
This is the key to Surf Wisely’s unique approach to teaching cyber security skills to kids. Our product helps students build good habits around protecting themselves online by conveying them in a fun, interactive package that doesn’t just feel like homework. We use familiar sports themes to create easy to understand analogies, and competitive play to teach important concepts.
Cyber security fundamentals have a clear place in any modern educational curriculum. Today’s students deserve to know how to keep themselves safe in a world that demands an increasingly high level of online activity for both personal and professional success. These are skills that will serve them now, and into adulthood. We see this gap in the education of the youth, and our internet safety program is specifically designed to address it effectively. If you’re ready to say goodbye to boredom in the classroom, and embrace the positive effects of engaged learning through our gamified app, contact our team to learn more or to start a free trial.