On 7 February, Safer Internet Day 2023, two iCSS researchers, Professor Shujun Li, iCSS Director and Professor of Cyber Security of the School of Computing, and Krysia Waldock, iCSS Research Assistant and a PhD student of the Tizard Centre, held two sessions at St Edmund’s School Canterbury for their Years 7 and 8 pupils on “How to be a Cyber Superhero” to talk about learning more about cyber security and online safety . These sessions drew on the animated video that iCSS recently created, which you can watch here.
This was the first time that iCSS tested the video in an interactive school outreach event, with great success. Echoing the theme of this year’s Safer Internet Day, “Making space for conversations about life online”, the iCSS researchers facilitated conversations with the pupils on keywords in cyber security and online safety. They also discussed how many different types of jobs can have direct or indirect links to the cyber world and how everyone can play a role to make the cyber world safer. At the end of each session, we asked pupils to draw some pictures of cyber superheroes, and we now have a pile of fantastically creative drawings!
In the afternoon of the same day, Professor Shujun Li and Krysia Waldock also delivered a session at Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School for their Year 9 pupils on misinformation, disinformation and media literacy. This session was repeated later in the same week on 10 February at Kent College, Canterbury, for their Year 7 pupils. These two sessions were repeated from iCSS’ outreach activities last years, as part of the last year’s Safer Internet Day outreach activities on 8 February 2022 (see here for a news article) and also as part of the Kent Youth Summit in October 2022 (see here for another news article). Some of the material used in these sessions can be found in the article, Online battles: combatting false information and reducing online risks, published in Issue 18 of Futurum Careers, a magazine aimed “introducing 14-19-year-olds worldwide to the world of work in STEM (science, tech, engineering, maths, medicine) and SHAPE (social sciences, humanities and the arts for people and the economy)”. This article, along with the accompanying worksheet, is free for all schools, educators and parents to utilise as part of their teaching curriculum or extra-curricular activities.
We were very delighted to work with local schools to deliver these interactive sessions this year and are looking forward to doing more outreach work in the future. We hope to see many new pupils develop interests in cyber security and online safety and become cyber superheroes when they grow up!