Safe Online Surfing New Cyber Safety Website for Teachers, Students
October 31st, 2012
For educators across the world, cyber safety is at the top of the lesson plan priority list as students and children seem to be virtually connected through this ever-changing cyber world, be it through texting, social networking, gaming, chat, music, downloading, web surfing, and many other forms of wired and wireless communication.
The FBI - recognizing this growing social concern - has launched the FBI-Safe Online Surfing (SOS) Internet Challenge, a free web-based initiative designed to help teachers educate students on cyber safety. This program was developed with the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and with the input of teachers world wide.
FBI-SOS is available through a newly revamped website at: https://sos.fbi.gov. There are six grade specific activities, or “islands”, for third through eighth graders. Each island is uniquely designed with its own character and visual themes, and focuses on various aspects of cyber security through games, videos, and other interactive features.
To encourage participation and enhance learning, students and teachers are able to compete against each other. There is an exam for each grade level that can only be taken after all classes and activities have been completed. The FBI then electronically grades these exams and awards the top scorer for each rating period.
For teachers and schools, FBI-SOS provides virtually everything they need to teach good cyber citizenship: ▪ A free, ready-made curriculum that meets state and federal Internet safety mandates ▪ Age-appropriate content for each of the six grade levels ▪ A printable teacher’s guide that spells out how teachers can sign up their classes and use the site ▪ Detailed rules and instructions for students
The implementation of this program proves that there are fun ways to educate students on cyber safety. It would be interesting to see other programs like this one created for other safety topics. There is no reason why teachers across the country should not take advantage of this program, because it’s fun, free, and effective!