Schools should educate students on Internet security and safety
I am a cybersecurity and scams/fraud subject matter expert. I write this letter to express my deep concern for the online safety and security of our younger folks.
Every single day I see young folks getting painfully scammed, defrauded, and blackmailed during the course of their online activities. The most painful incidents I observe are those of high school age kids who have been snookered into sending sexually explicit photos/videos of themselves to people who wind up blackmailing them. Failure to pay the monetary extortion demand results in threats to send those explicit images to the victim’s friends and family – and quite frequently that’s exactly what these blackmailers do. In the USA in 2022 alone, at least a dozen young folks committed suicide when placed under this pressure.
Furthermore, it’s not just high school kids who get “burned.” I regularly see college kids losing substantial amounts of money to fake job, fake apartment rental, and fake cryptocurrency investment scams.
Our schools may be teaching young folks that Pi equals 3.1419, but they are not teaching our young folks critical life skills at the structured, formal education level. This failure needs to be addressed – and addressed by action, not endless committees and focus groups.
Educating our young folks on online security and safety, during this age of the wild, wild west of the Internet, should be an essential component of the Botetourt County education system. Presently, it does not appear to be.