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Why And How Should You Teach Cyber Resilience To Children?

Cyber resilience is often construed to be the knowhow of just using technology, but effectively navigating the cyberspace is more than just that.

Leading a major part of our lives online has become the new normal, whether for work, education, entertainment or keeping in touch with people. Even after the pandemic is over, experts suggest that online will become a big part of our new way of doing things. While it matters to everyone, children, being the future of any nation and among the most vulnerable groups to threats that are posed online, need to be ready and aware about how to navigate this cyberspace. And that is the answer to why should you teach cyber resilience to children.  

Cyber resilience is often construed to be the knowhow of just using technology, but effectively navigating the cyberspace is more than just that. As two other major pillars, it also includes practical and hands-on knowledge of online safety and responsible online behaviour. This package of cyber resilience empowers children for staying safe while online. It consists of knowledge of relevant technology tools for online safety, information verification, managing digital footprint and online presence etc. At the same time, this set of knowledge focuses on how should one behave responsibly online as well; how to react to bullying, how to identify and flag inappropriate behaviour etc. Education about cyber resilience also exposes them to the world of cybersecurity, which in the current times and the time to come, will be an important part of all jobs as well. With these components, the following are the ways to engage in this dialogue of cyber resilience with children today: 

Don’t preach, explore: As educators or parents, we often make the mistake of preaching children about right and wrong, doing something or not doing it etc. While that may be a way for other things, for cyber resilience, one has to sit down with children and explore the cyberspace with them. Some part of the time that you spend with them should be online, together, learning new things, browsing new websites or learning safety tools etc.  

Knowledge, activities, hands-on: There are many ways to go about cyber resilience education and one of the ways that we talk about prominently is a mix of the right body of knowledge, activities to register important things and then hands-on real experience of doing things on your own. For example, password management is one of the most underrated aspects of being online. The overall educational experience of learning password management should include relevant knowledge about passwords, how they work, why are they such etc. coupled with an off-line activity with children relating to treasures and secret codes and then getting them to manage their own passwords hands-on. To foster this, Cyber Peace Foundation and CBSE have released a handbook on learning and teaching cyber safety to children as well.  

Talk about digital footprints: Most children dive into the internet without full information about how it works and if it is actually a value-free zone. Through activities, it is also important to educate children about how information lives online forever and responsible online behaviour is important.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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