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Cyber Safety for Good: Preparing Children, Parents and Senior Citizens for the Dangers of the Internet

How do you teach community members about online safety? Start with a dedicated team of cybersecurity experts.

January 30, 2023

If you have kids, you already know it can be hard to balance their security online with their tech sophistication. Your 8-year-old may know how to synch your tablet with the TV, reboot the WiFi and recover that file you mistakenly deleted, but that doesn't mean they know how to stay safe online.

“Over the past two years, children have been spending more time than ever on the internet. It is important to educate them on how to be safe and secure in the digital world," says Alexa Fradella, Global Lead for JPMorgan Chase's Cyber Safety for Good initiative.

It's easy to see how an innocuous online posting can endanger a family's security. For example, say a student innocently shares a post about their family dog, Scully. The post can be viewed widely, and if it falls into the wrong hands, scammers could now have the answer to a potential security question of his parents' bank account. Similarly, chatting with an unknown person online, a child can unwittingly reveal details about their parents, their home, and other sensitive information.

Educating employees and their families

During Cybersecurity Awareness Week 2022, JPMorgan Chase hosted sessions geared towards the children of employees. The sessions—the first of their kind at the bank—were interactive and covered subjects such as oversharing information, protecting one's accounts, making online friends, navigating targeted advertisements, and cyberbullying. Over 300 children of employees from across the globe joined the sessions over the course of the week.

Jim Maples, a leader of the firm's global Secure Development Education team, volunteered to lead the sessions. “As a parent of two online teenagers, it felt important to share lessons that I've learned with other parents," he explains. “I wanted to reinforce the message that parents are not alone in facing the risks, issues, and challenges presented by our interconnected, online world."

Working with schools

This wasn't JPMorgan Chase's first foray into teaching children about cybersecurity. When Delaware's Department of Education needed extra help with the issue, it turned to Cyber Safety for Good, a Tech for Social Good volunteer-based program that uses grade-appropriate content to teach children about the best way to ensure their online security. Cyber Safety for Good was tailor-made for children from ages 7 to 18—as well as their parents—but the team has also recently created content for senior citizens, a population that is often targeted with cyber threats.

The program matches volunteers from JPMorgan Chase with local schools, nonprofits and parent groups to talk about cyber awareness and safety tips. To date, it has educated an estimated 20,000 students and 4,000 parents in 2,500 school districts from New Jersey to Scotland.

The content for the younger age groups includes videos and interactive activities to tell stories about important lessons about posting on social media and cyber-bullying. The material gets more sophisticated for older students. Students ages 14-18 engage in a presentation before diving into a group discussion on privacy, cyber-bullying and texting protocols. Finally, the session finishes by discussing best practices and career possibilities in cyber security.

The key to teaching kids to be safe on the internet is starting early, says Heather Volkomer, a cyber security educator for the State of Delaware. “We find that elementary school is a good place to start," she says. “They're old enough to understand what we're telling them, and they're used to learning and following rules in elementary school."

Students, parents and seniors globally can register to attend upcoming Cyber Safety for Good sessions here.

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