When we launched the Intel Security Digital Safety Program recently, it marked a new era in our commitment to cyber education. Since 2009, McAfee has sent employee volunteers into schools to teach digital safety. We reached 250,000 students but we weren’t satisfied. So we partnered with one of the most exciting brands in digital education – Discovery Education – and had them put their best educational minds into designing a cyber safety curriculum that could reach way more kids. Discovery Education is in 50 percent of all U.S. schools, 30 percent of schools in Canada, 50 percent in the UK and 10 percent in Ireland. Our reach numbers will now be much greater, as is our commitment.
The three-year initiative will offer free resources designed to teach students to “Think Before You Link.” The Intel Security Digital Safety Program will be hosted by Discovery Education via a co-branded microsite that will include digital learning modules not only for students, but also for educators and parents. The modules are in segments for easy navigation and self-pacing.
We had an opportunity to see the first set of students interacting with the modules at our launch event in Washington, D.C. as part of the Committee for Economic Development (CED) Fall Policy Conference. The kids were already learning to be savvy online, as several of them decided to invent screen names rather than listing their own names on programs.
Our launch had a special keynote address from a congressional leader in both cybersecurity and education: Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI). Congressman Langevin, co-founder of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, stressed cybersecurity education as the single most important priority for policymakers. He noted that Internet safety needs to become an integral teaching in children’s lives in the same way that wearing helmets when riding a bike or wearing seatbelts in cars is to. Discovery Education CEO Bill Goodwyn and McAfee’s Chief Privacy Officer Michelle Dennedy rounded out the program with a fireside chat hosted by Intel Security Chief Marketing Officer Penny Baldwin.
We’re excited to be opening the door to a new era of cybersecurity education best practices, and this launch marks a key part of our continuing efforts to pivot cybersecurity discussions toward the positive – toward what’s possible rather than just what’s frightening. Seeing the technology in use was an important reminder of how these students will be the cybersecurity experts of tomorrow, and an expert needs, most of all, education and training. Through this program, students will get a first-rate introduction to Internet safety that will lay the foundation as they become the next generation of cyber experts. We couldn’t be doing anything more important at this moment in cyber history.