Survey reveals disconnect in online safety education

Nearly all administrators said schools should help students learn basic technology skills that incorporate safety and security, but many teachers say they're not prepared to teach these subjects.

A new report suggests that many schools are not adequately preparing students to be safe in today’s digitally connected age, and it cites basic online safety and ethics as two areas in which students need more education.

The report, “State of K-12 Cyberethics, Cybersafety, and Cybersecurity Curriculum in the United States,” was published by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and sponsored by Microsoft.

Although policy makers have urged K-12 schools to integrate technology into their curriculum and expose students to devices that will help them in college and the workforce, the survey reveals that administrators, teachers, and IT coordinators have different opinions on how best to ensure that children are adequately prepared for cyber safety and online security the digital age.

Eighty-one percent of school administrators, including principals and superintendents, said they believe their districts are adequately preparing students in online safety, security, and ethics. However, only 51 percent of teachers agree.

Despite some different opinions about how well schools are educating students on cyber safety, school leaders agree that schools should prepare students to be “cyber-capable” in college and the workforce. In fact, 68 percent of principals and superintendents said they feel confident that their schools are preparing students to follow a college-level coursework in cyber security.

Nearly all administrators (97 percent) said that schools should help K-12 students build basic technology skills that incorporate safety and security. Eighty-one percent of administrators said schools should teach cyber safety curriculum throughout all grades, so that students are equipped for careers in the cyber security field.

Many teachers say they’re not prepared to teach these subjects, however.

Laura Ascione
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