The Internet is a critical resource for today’s public, private, and independent school communities—and as a K-12 administrator, you can play an essential role in ensuring that this digital resource remains safe and secure at your school or throughout your entire school district.
A great place to start is by participating in National Cyber Security Awareness Month, held in October 2012. Even if you have just one hour to devote to this nationwide observance or decide to make a larger time commitment, you’ll be sure to find at least one activity from the list below that can make a big difference!
…in less than One Hour:
- Email your school’s faculty and staff about National Cyber Security Awareness Month and encourage them to integrate messages about “our shared responsibility” in maintaining cybersecurity in their written communications, blogs, and presentations to students, parents, faculty members, and other school personnel during October. (For more resources, visit http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/about/. The Federal Trade Commission has developed a great guide for talking to kids about online security; available at http://onguardonline.gov/features/feature-0004-featured-net-cetera-toolkit.)
…in less than One Day:
- Schedule a meeting with your school’s resource officer to discuss ways in which youth might be vulnerable to online risks and threats, and how your school can better educate your students about becoming safer and more secure online. Include cybersecurity and online safety as an agenda item in an upcoming staff or faculty meeting. (Find resources at http://staysafeonline.org/teach-online-safety.)
…in less than One Week:
- Launch a school-wide or district-wide awareness campaign, by (1) using your social media vehicles (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube accounts, and blogs) to promote National Cyber Security Awareness Month, (2) posting information and banners on your school/district website, (3) including a cybersecurity safety tip during morning “PA” announcements throughout October, (4) recruiting your student news producers to devote at least one in-school TV news program to educate their peers about cybersecurity, and (5) to encouraging your educational community to “like” the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign at www.facebook.com/stopthinkconnect to ensure that you get the latest cybersecurity announcements and news. (Resources can be found at http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/get-involved/social-media and http://staysafeonline.org/stop-think-connect/tips-and-advice.)
- Ask your Parent Teacher Association, school board, and/or school superintendent to issue a formal proclamation in support of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, observed nationwide in October 2012. Distribute STOP. THINK. CONNECT. tips for parents at your next PTA meeting.
…in less than One Month:
- Hold a cybersecurity in-service training for school faculty and staff during the month of October and have your IT personnel or computer sciences teachers give presentations on smart computer practices and online security measures. Distribute tools and tips available from the National Cyber Security Alliance. (For more resources, visit http://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online)
- Hold a school poster/video contest in which students create public service announcements and other outreach materials to educate their peers using the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. or “Shared Responsibility” themes. Make sure the winning entries get lots of exposure around school. (Resources can be found at http://www.staysafeonline.org/stop-think-connect/)
…All Year Round: