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Laura’s Blog

- by Laura (Aged 11), Cyber Prefect

I thought that the cyber champions presentation was brilliant.

There were four main things I took from the presentation that were well explained and detailed.

The first was about cyber footprints. Now I didn't actually know what one of these was until the presentation so it was very good to be able to learn that a cyber footprint is the trail left behind when you access a website. They are always there and cannot be easily removed. Therefore, you need to be very careful about the information that you put onto the internet about yourself.

The second was about people are usually not the same online as they are in real life. People might say something online and then not actually mean it, for example, I might have a really bad fall out with my friend and I might just want to scream and shout at them but not have the courage to do it at school, so I might do it online. But this might mean that I end up not just saying what I wanted to at school. I might cross the line of what is acceptable, it might get out of hand and I might really hurt my friend's feelings. Once I've sent it, it's not just for my friend to see, it's potentially for the whole world to see.

The third was that at the end of the presentation, Cyber Champions had come up with a checklist, for the pupils in year seven to do at home which included typing your name into a google search and google images to see if any personal images or information came up. I went home and tried this and fortunately for me I don't have Facebook or any other social network like that so no images or information came up, but I know a lot of people and have a lot of friends who would have typed their name in and find something come up.

The last thing is that internet isn't a horrible thing and you shouldn't be scared of it, you can do some wonderful things on it, for example, my sister is on Twitter and she has a lot of really nice friends who both me and her have met but she is older so knows how to use the internet safely, and I think that The Cyber Champions have done a really good job of explaining how to use the internet safely, Thank you!

Inspired to be a Cyber Champion

- by Colin Powers, Young Professional, Nexor

I first heard about Cyber Champions soon after its launch at an Intellect Young Professionals' Network event, and I signed up on the spot: I knew I had to be a part of it. To my mind there can be few causes more rewarding for an information security professional than to teach the subject's most valuable lessons to the country's most valuable citizens.

I did my first Cyber Champions workshop soon after joining the scheme to a year 7 class at St. Marylebone C.E. School in London. I remember being worried that my presentation would not take up the whole hour. However, I quickly found that my nerves were misplaced: the students were so engaged in the questions and discussions that the real challenge was wrapping things up on time! I've been to many different schools up and down the country since then, but that high level of engagement has been consistent in every single one.

That experience confirmed what my instincts had already suggested: these lessons are important. The more children do online, the more they have to do to keep themselves safe. As part of our workshops, we ask the students what they do online and what their favourite websites are. The range of answers we get is huge, and sometimes surprising. At a later presentation to some year 5 students at Crossdale Drive Primary School in Keyworth, we had to borrow some material from our secondary school presentation when a number of students said they were already on Facebook.

What makes Cyber Champions so fulfilling for me is that when you ask questions like "who is on Facebook", and then ask "who is 100% sure how many people can see their profile", there is always a significant difference. Some of the children will be more tech-savvy than others, and they'll already know their stuff when it comes to online safety. Others will simply be on websites like Facebook because it's fun and convenient, but they won't have realised or thought about who might be able to see what they post. And that's why Cyber Champions works. Once we help children realise who can see what they post online, how they can control that and what the consequences might be if they don't, they start to think before they post. And they go away from the presentation with an idea of who in their class they might want to ask if they need any help locking down their accounts!

I'm extremely proud to be involved in Cyber Champions. To those who, like me, have witnessed firsthand the rise of social networking and the disasters that can occur when things go wrong, I say simply this: get involved. I've seen many people my age struggling with privacy online, and I'm sure you have to. For the first time, children are now growing up with all these services, and they are starting at younger ages every day. This is a massively important message, and a massively important scheme. If you can help, then do. It's a phenomenally fulfilling experience, it's fun, and it'll even help you build up your soft skills. It's been almost a year since I joined, and I've never regretted it for a second.

When it comes to the internet we really are all in it together!

- By Sophie Bialaszewski, Security Consultant, Templar Executives

At a recent policy forum, Ed Vaizey said that ‘over 80% of 12-15 year olds have social networking profiles.’ What I have come to realise from delivering Cyber Champion workshops is that many 8-12 year olds also have social network profiles!

The prevalence of IT within our working lives is frequently discussed and yet when I look at my own online behaviour it’s actually my personal reliance on the internet that is greater. The same is true for many of the children and young people that take part in cyber champion workshops.

It has been fantastic to see so many children and young people engaged in the Cyber Champions programme; I myself have run sessions for over 100 students in London. The sessions have been alive with discussion from the students and more than anything else they want to have the e-safety discussion – they have a lot to share. What is of concern is the number of students that have their own online safety stories to tell. I have had issues raised from corrupt emails; to copycat social networking profiles to cyber and text bullying.

The materials used in the cyber champion workshops take the students on a journey from thinking about why the internet is great and the benefits of its use, all the way through to, scenario planning and debates about what’s safer… online or real life?

I thoroughly enjoy leading the Cyber Champions workshops and for me it’s about being able to give something back to the schools near to where I work and live. I get something from it too though - it helps me to think about my own cyber security messages when talking to government and clients. The fundamentals are the same; think before you act; be aware of the cyber risk you as an individual face, as well as, your school and organisation and most importantly if something does happen - TELL someone. It’s the best way to fix a problem.

If you are a young professional with a digital passion; whether that be as part of your job or personally I would encourage you to get involved in Cyber Champions. You’ll never get such engaging discussions as you do from children and young people; together we can ensure that the future generation become responsible digital citizens, to the benefit of all of us.

Why should CSR be included in your Talent programme?

– by Rekha Babber, Learning and Development Consultant and a Cyber Guardian

Attracting, growing and retaining talent is critical to delivering competitive edge in a fiercely demanding global economy. Organisations need to continue to drive their People Strategy, encompassing talent management, as part of their overall business.

Employees expectations are also high – as well as having fulfilling work and compensation, they want to feel good about the company they work for, they want to be inspired by their company and the leadership. They want to work for organisations that demonstrate social responsibility and values they can relate to. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a key strategy for any organisation looking to develop their employee value proposition and to attract and retain talent, as well as enhancing their brand.

"In general, CSR initiatives reveal the values of a company and thus can be part of the employee value proposition that recent studies indicate is the lens through which managers must view talent management today. CSR also humanises the company in ways that other facets of the job cannot; it depicts the company as a contributor to society rather than as an entity concerned solely with maximizing profits." - Bhattacharya, Sankar Sen and Daniel Korschun (2008)

Cyber Champions is a great example of a CSR programme which has captured the hearts and minds of professionals across generations. In an increasingly digital world, savvy young professionals are inspired to promote on- line safety awareness for the younger generations and act as IT and business role models. This experience is making a difference to the individual, organisation and local communities.

CSR initiatives like Cyber Champions add value and create an emotional and personal attachment; a feeling of goodwill which extends to the organisation who has facilitated the opportunity. In addition, employees have the chance to further develop their skills and networks both socially and professionally. So as well as feeling it’s good to do, participating in the right CSR programmes serves as a “genuine point of differentiation” for a company looking to attract and retain the best professionals.

Rise of the Cyber Champions

- by Tony Neate, Managing Director, Get Safe Online

Original post Rise of the Cyber Champions

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