Date posted: September 30, 2011
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This year’s theme is Our Shared Responsibility. As explained by the National Cyber Security Alliance, “no individual, business, or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. We need to understand that individual actions have a collective impact and when we use the Internet safely we make it more secure for everyone.”
Anyone can begin by taking a few simple actions: Stop. Think. Connect. Stop until you understand the potential risks and rewards. Think about what you’re about to do and its potential ramifications today and down the road. Then connect and safely enjoy the power and possibilities online.
It’s an approach a lot like digital citizenship. Understand the plusses and minuses of the media and technology platform. Be able to operate the technology and be able to analyze and evaluate the messages you take in and send out. Act responsibly online.
Pretty simple concepts that can be applied to any new device or application. Yet they’re not often taught that way in classrooms or family rooms. As adults, we tend to concentrate on the risks, hoping to spare children from mistakes. Too often, we wind up giving a bunch of fear-based lectures on the crisis du jour, an approach we know is not effective in changing behavior.
The National Cyber Security Alliance came up with the Stop. Think. Connect. messaging and it’s being adopted by a number of government agencies and internet safety advocates. It’s short and simple, like the Smokey the Bear ads. And it’s a more positive and proactive approach to conversations with kids about how to behave online.
Maybe we can use National Cyber Security Awareness Month to reboot online safety and cyber bullying programs and approach these topics through positive expectations and digital citizenship.