Children are learning about computer safety and how to protect themselves from cybercrime at a very early age, thanks to a new program developed by the FBI. The program, called the FBI-SOS Safe Internet Challenge (SOS stands for Safe Online Surfing), is geared towards students in third through eighth grades and teaches them internet safety through the use of grade-specific games, videos, and various other types of media. The grade-specific levels are referred to as “islands”, and aim to specifically teach kids about maintaining safety when using chat rooms, social networking sites, smartphones, and any other form of technology that gives kids access to the internet and potential predators.
The FBI is gearing this program towards the classroom environment and is encouraging teachers to sign up and make use of the program in their individual classrooms. They are also making it more interesting for kids by making it competitive in several different ways: as each student completes an island, they can take an exam based on the island they’ve just completed and have an opportunity to submit it for electronic grading by the FBI. The other form of competition is based on the number of participants, where entire schools can enter a competition based on high scores and be placed onto a state or national leader board. Winning this competition gives schools the opportunity to win trophies and various other prizes including a visit to their school from an actual FBI agent.
Since kids are being exposed to the internet and therefore, cybercrime, at increasingly younger ages, the FBI is continuing to develop engaging, kid-friendly programs like this one to help educate and protect future generations.