Local nonprofit hosts Cyber Safety Day

Local News

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – The Center for Cyber Safety and Education will host its first-ever cyber safety day in Tampa Bay.

More than 10,500 elementary school students in Tampa Bay are participating and will receive free cyber safety education materials. The Center for Cyber Safety and Education is focusing on third grade students in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Pasco counties.

“We realized that we have to start younger and younger,” the programs director, Pat Craven, said. “We cannot wait until middle and high school to teach them internet safety.”

The Center conducted a children’s internet usage study. In that study they found the following:

  • By the age of 10, most kids have a cell phone
  • 40% of fourth through eighth grade students have talked with a stranger online. Of those, 53% revealed their phone number to a stranger and 11% met with a stranger.
  • 20% of schools participating reported incidents of cyberbullying
  • 90% reported teaching internet safety can be a challenge for the lack of materials, information and time

The Center plans on giving the 105 participating elementary schools education kits. In these kits are various materials teachers can use to teach students how to be safe online.

“We can’t wait, so that’s part of the idea is that we are able to teach them safe and basic principles that they can carry with them,” Craven said. “We don’t talk about Facebook, Snap chat or Instagram because those are constantly changing, and there will always be something new. What we are talking about are basic principles.”

The lesson plans are based off of the award-winning Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures.

For more information on the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, click here.

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