Teaching Kids the Importance of Cybersecurity Through Games
Acknowledging a growing need for a digitally literate workforce that uses technology in a safe and secure way, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security created a program that highlights the potential of game based training to educate young students about the importance cybersecurity.
The DHS National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) offers links to cybersecurity training games from a mix of public and private sources. These sites offer information and practice with programming, security concepts for computers and networks, defense against cyber attacks, and even practice questions for cybersecurity certification exams. A wide range of material provides a challenge for students at any age — from the cartoon-based Dewie the Turtle to the sophisticated role play of CyberCIEGE.
NICCS recommends cybersecurity gamification as part of a broader “Hands-On Learning” approach for students, meant to augment and expand more traditional classroom work. The interactive cybersecurity games and quizzes are a flexible and fun way for kids to build key technical skills, especially when added to activities such as clubs and competitions.
Studies in cybersecurity education (such as this one from the International Cyber Center at George Mason University) concluded that using games to deliver training is very effective, given a game that is well-designed, engaging and has a clear end goal. For students, educators and parents, access to game based training in cybersecurity will be an important part of building a highly skilled and tech-savvy workforce. In turn, that workforce will play a critical role in protecting the infrastructure and economy of 21st century America.
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