Posted: 3 Min ReadCorporate Responsibility

Students in 20,000 classrooms learn to hack-proof their life

Norton LifeLock, Symantec and Scholastic launch #CyberSmarts student magazine and teaching guide

When you see the name Scholastic, you might think of a Book Fair, paging through a Scholastic classroom magazine, or reading Clifford the Big Red Dog®. At Scholastic, we see literacy as the key to learning and achievement and, in addition to publishing and selling books, we develop educational content for teachers.

We provide teachers with free materials that fill critical resource gaps, build classroom libraries, and make it easy to engage and educate students. We offer thousands of grab-and-go lesson plans, discussion guides, extension activities, and teacher tool-kits. 

We often team up with companies on these materials and are thrilled to have recently launched #CyberSmarts, a new collaboration with Norton LifeLock and Symantec. According to Common Sense Media, kids aged eight to 12 spend an average of six hours a day online and face issues like identity theft, cyberbullying, and cyber predators. Like other important safety lessons, we need to educate kids at home and at school to help them spot the risks of being constantly connected. 

Criminals often target kids through “fan sites” that contain malicious links or offer free music, movies or video game skins that a child might be tempted to download. More than 1 million children were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2017, according to a report from Javelin Strategy & Research. The best way to fight cyber criminals is through education, and that can start at any age.

As part of the #CyberSmarts program, we sent a mini-magazine.for middle school students with an accompanying teaching guide that contained three free lesson plans. They reached 20,000 classrooms earlier this month; the materials were also emailed to 400,000 teachers and anyone can access them online.

#CyberSmarts is designed to teach students in grades six through eight how to hack-proof their life while simultaneously learning important STEM and English Language Arts skills. Teachers can help their students understand online safety, identify preventive technologies that combat cyber threats, and learn to make online profiles more secure. 

With activities including Create Your Online Protection Plan, performing a skit where personal data is at risk, and combing through a sample online profile to find security holes, students learn important strategies to keep personal information private, avoid scams, create strong passwords, and more. 

Scholastic worked closely with Melissa Voeller, Consumer Marketing Director at Symantec, to create the content for the mini-magazine and lesson plans. “We designed the materials for sixth to eighth graders, but I also have presented these lessons to my son’s third grade class. Children use the internet at really young ages now and these lesson plans help provide invaluable tips to keep them safe. One of my favorite parts of the mini-magazine is the ‘My Cool Cyber Job’ section. When I talk to my kids and their friends about working in cyber security at Symantec, they think having a job that helps fight cybercrime is cool! More students need to know about jobs in cyber security. It’s one of today’s most in-demand fields, the work is interesting and important every day, and we have a huge gap in qualified candidates.”

We’ve already received great feedback from teachers. According to a seventh/eighth grade teacher in Michigan, “Students can definitely connect with the online gaming activity. Very appropriate for middle school and the Security Holes activity will definitely hold their interest.”

Scholastic is excited to be a part of Symantec’s work to excite and educate young people in cyber security and STEM. 

Learn more about Symantec’s commitment to STEM education and digital safety in their 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report and learn more how Scholastic encourages the intellectual and personal growth of all children on our website.

About the Author

Casey Mindlin

Director of Partnerships at Scholastic

Want to comment on this post?

We encourage you to share your thoughts on your favorite social platform.