Teaching teens to manage their digital lives safely and responsibly

In a world where we are increasingly living in the digital space, it is imperative to teach young people how to manage their digital lives safely and responsibly.

As the world observes Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, Shaun Fuchs, founder and CEO of Centennial Schools, points out that while the Internet has opened a whole new world of possibilities for young people, it is crucial they be taught about cybersecurity and given the tools to keep themselves safe online.

Centennial Schools is highly invested in digitally led education, with cybersecurity central to its teaching. “Given that almost 70% of South Africans regularly frequent the digital world, the opportunities for students are vast; however, it can also be a place of danger in the absence of essential tech-safety education,” he says.

“Gen Z is the most digitally literate generation on the planet. They live on their mobile phones. Using multiple online applications and platforms comes naturally to them. By modelling healthy tech habits and communication skills, we are helping them establish online boundaries, including how to communicate with people effectively online.

“We are in the middle of the Fifth Industrial Revolution, which means almost everything we do has an online presence. This means we need to teach our children to be vigilant and smart about their digital interactions. This includes password safety, how to determine the authenticity of an online profile, limiting the amount of information they reveal online, being able to distinguish between real and fake sites, and mitigating cyberbullying and scam-based situations,” Fuchs adds.

Kreaan Singh, co-founder of CoinEd, who has partnered with Centennial Schools to provide blockchain and cryptocurrency training for students, says there are three important rules for students to follow:

  1. Be careful about the information you share with people and online. Criminals will use this information to manipulate you to gain access to your personal information, which could include your cryptocurrency holdings.
  2. Always do your own research. Be wary of opportunities that sound too good to be true. A simple Internet search will often be the difference between falling victim to a scam and avoiding one. 
  3. If your teenagers use cryptocurrency or interact with any payment processes online, they need to understand how to secure their funds. If you are holding your investments on cryptocurrency exchanges, make sure you use unique, strong passwords.

“By making sure our children are digitally literate and digitally safe, we are giving them the tools they need to succeed in life and work,” Fuchs concludes.

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