Does Cybersecurity education belong to school?

Issues related to cybersecurity affect everyone. Indeed, no matter our age or where we live, in 2020, we are using technology every day. At work, at home, at school or to communicate with others, we always have either a cell phone, a laptop, or a tablet near us. The increase in popularity of these technologies seems to go hand in hand with the decreasing age of first use. Indeed, young people are introduced to technology at an early age.

However, even though young children and teens navigate different social media platforms and use different kinds of technological tools without an adult’s help, they are not aware of all the cyber world’s risks. The role of humans in computer crimes is significant. Young people with access to technology should be well equipped and aware of the many dangers present on the internet. The primary and most effective way to better prepare young people to deal with this problem is through education and in schools.

To explore the postulate that cybersecurity education should take place in school, researchers Corradini and Nardelli (2020) carried out a study on teachers’ perceptions regarding their students’ digital awareness and the actions they deem necessary for the development of young people.

boy in black hoodie sitting on chair

The researchers analyzed the results of a questionnaire distributed to 2,229 Italian teachers (n = 2,229). The questionnaire focuses on three main areas: 1) evaluating the usefulness of digital awareness guides; 2) responsible use of digital technologies and; 3) support for teachers with specific training in awareness and digital security.

The main results of the study showed that:

  • 97.74% of teachers want to receive training on the risks and good deeds on the internet to educate their students better.
  • Teachers want training on the use of social media, fake news, online harassment and identity theft.
  • According to the teachers, using examples provides a better understanding of the risks involved with technology usage.
  • Also, 48% of respondents consider that raising awareness of digital security among young people must go through parents and schools. The two together can have an impact on the development and understanding of children and adolescents.
  • The teachers agree on some main topics to be covered for young people to use technology safely, namely, online harassment, data protection and the notion of confidentiality.
  • Online harassment is the most worrying issue for teachers.

This article emphasizes teachers’ need and receptivity to discuss the risks present on the internet with their students to increase their critical thinking in the face of technology. Digital awareness should take more place in the school curriculum of young people. Specific and age-appropriate training programs should increasingly be taught.

Pour citer l’article: Corradini, I. et Nardelli, E. (2020). Developing Digital Awareness at School: A Fundamental Step for Cybersecurity Education. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, 1219. Springer, Cham