Nowadays, digital safety is a must. Grade 6 students from Children’s World Academy in LaSalle learned about it with a special guest speaker. Terry Cutler, one of the country’s best-known cybersecurity experts, chatted about the dangers of online gaming and social media.
Cutler’s audience consisted of mainly 11 and 12-year-old boys and girls last week. He says learning about cybersecurity is just as important as reading and writing.
« Back in our day, if we were watching something on television and our parents didn’t like it, they would come in the room and change the channel on us. The parent was being active. Now, with the child being online, the parent has no clue about what they are doing. So, it’s important for the children to know all this, » says Cutler.
In his hour-long presentation, Cutler touched on topics such as cyberbullying, preventing online crimes by predators and protecting identities.
Students at the Ménard St. school were also reminded of the importance of creating « unbreakable » passwords. Some of them admitted using passwords easy to figure out – like « John123 ».
« That’s one of the issues I see quite often. It’s so dangerous. I told them they should create passwords that are like 16 to 20 characters long. I know what you’re thinking, how can you remember something that long? Well, you can use song lyrics for example. That’s the way to create something strong, » says Cutler.
12-year-old Sierra Babb plans of taking that advice. She says she was shocked to find out how little it takes to find out information about an individual.
« I can’t believe that people so far away can learn about you and find out things in five clicks, » she says.
The Grade 6 student will take the advice of changing her passwords regularly. Sabrina Di Santo feels the same way.
« I’m definitely going to change things. Eventhough you have a private account, people can still hack into it and that’s kind of scary, » she says.
The Montreal-based technology guru is often called by police to help investigate cases of sexting and online extortion. Cutler says it’s a growing problem in secondary schools across the province.
« The students [from Children’s World Academy] will be heading to high school soon. They have to know that sending out sexual content can be later on used against them. Sometimes it can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts, » he says.
On average, Cutler gives up to three presentations per year in Montreal-area schools. He hopes to receive more invitations from teachers and principals in 2019.
« With all of the digital devices, they have to understand it comes with a great responsibility, » he says.
According to Cutler, in the world of the internet, you can never be too safe.