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Catholic board to promote student cyber safety

Various topics explored during Cyber Security Awareness Month
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Throughout the month of October, the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) will mark Cyber Security Awareness Month by educating students on various aspects of internet safety and digital citizenship skills.

"The vast adoption of digital technology has increased cyber risks and online threats, as evidenced in the media and through various warnings issued by industry and government entities," says a news release issued by HSCDSB. "Students, in particular, can be very vulnerable to cybercriminals who look for new ways to exploit users."

Each week will focus on a specific cyber safety topic, including social media and gaming, cyber scams and phishing, password and device protections, and digital wellness.

Full text of the HSCDSB release follows:

The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board is committed to ensuring students are well prepared for their future. Along with developing 21st century skills and competencies, students also require the opportunity to learn internet safety and digital citizenship skills. For the month of October, we will be promoting internet safety and digital citizenship skill during Cyber Security Awareness Month.

With resources created by the Educational Computing Network of Ontario (ECNO), Get Cyber Safe, Protect Kids Online and other websites, the board will be promoting safer and more secure practices in all of our Catholic school communities when using digital technologies and the internet. Key messages will be delivered to students from kindergarten to Grade 12 on cyber safety, cyber security, and online privacy.

“The use of technology and the internet continues to grow in education and the board wants to make sure that our students and staff are aware of the potential pitfalls of its various uses. Cyber security awareness is important for everyone to ensure the various platforms we work with are safe and secure,” said superintendent of education, Christine Durocher.

The vast adoption of digital technology has increased cyber risks and online threats, as evidenced in the media and through various warnings issued by industry and government entities. Students, in particular, can be very vulnerable to cybercriminals who look for new ways to exploit users.

“While our students are adept in using technological devices, sometimes they are not aware of the dangers associated with the various platforms they can access. During October we hope to increase their awareness of potential negative results of internet usage,” noted HSCDSB STEAM lead, Lorenzo DiCerbo.

Cyber Security Awareness Month will focus on a specific topic for each week In October. Week 1 will look at security and awareness in social media and gaming. Week 2 will provide information pertaining to cyber scams and phishing. Week 3 looks at cyber hygiene which includes password and device protections. Week 4 will focus on digital wellness.

“Quite often people believe that cyber security awareness is only technical but digital wellness is also important.  Excessive use of digital technologies comes with many risks and potential pitfalls. Bullying, sleep deprivation, isolation, addiction and many other damaging effects associated with excessive technology use can negatively impact our mental health. This awareness campaign can be of great help to our students,” said HSCDSB mental health lead, Jared Lambert.

The board will be encouraging participants, particularly our students, to ‘Be a ‘Cyberhero’ to defend against the bad guys – the phishers, scam artists, and all the supervillains who pose a threat to cyber security, safety and privacy. The ECNO website provides tremendous opportunities to engage students in cyber security awareness.

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