Cyber Security Industry Alliance Newsletter • Volume 1, Number 11 • July/August 2005

CSIA Calls for a National K-12 Cyber Awareness Program

A Focused, Organized National Effort is Needed to Teach Children Cyber Security, Cyber Ethics and Cyber Safety

This month, CSIA released a report, "Teaching Children Cyber Security and Ethics," which calls for the creation of a national-level program for teaching children K-12 cyber security, ethics and safety. The report discusses the current state of cyber awareness education for children K-12 by framing key problems, describing elements of cyber awareness and providing snapshots of typical education programs for cyber security, cyber ethics and cyber safety.

CSIA’s report addresses several key problems regarding the current state of cyber awareness and education including:

  • Numerous cyber awareness Web sites offer duplicating content and direction, which causes confusion for those looking for information. Parents, teachers and children need one source to turn to for their cyber awareness needs that they know and trust.

  • The materials designed to teach children about cyber security need to be as dynamic as the multimedia currently holding our children’s attention. Software developers, particularly in the video gaming industry, need to incorporate cyber education tools that are visually appealing into the top-grade multimedia programs they design.

  • Currently, there is no coordinated effort for funding for cyber security, ethics and safety education. CSIA believes that national coordination of funding would help pool resources and dramatically boost the ability to produce quality curricula and multimedia required for training children.

Children must be aware of the cyber threats that exist, which may cause inadvertent damage to their own PCs and other electronic devices or reveal sensitive, personal information. Congress and the Administration have committed some resources already to cyber safety, but we believe it is equally important to focus on cyber security and ethics.

CSIA presented the following policy recommendations to Congress and the Administration:

  • Create a national Cyber Awareness Program: Initiate a national-level program for teaching children K-12 cyber security, ethics and safety, coordinated by the Administration, in particular, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Education (DOE). The Cyber Awareness Program (CAP) should leverage a partnership between teachers and parents, and funding sources in the public and private sectors, with leadership from DHS. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) could provide an entry point for coordinating this effort, in conjunction with the DHS.

  • Coordinate CAP content on web sites:The Cyber Awareness Program should simplify the process of finding resources by teachers and parents. CSIA recommends use of a few branded Web sites to coordinate CAP content presentation and use, such as, the official Web site of the NCSA.

  • Ensure production and use of top-grade multimedia: A priority for coordinated funding should be the creation, production and use of top-grade multimedia. For example, gaming technologies that teach cyber security and ethics would be extremely powerful. The Administration and Congress should encourage gaming companies to provide programs as a public service to schools.

  • Coordinate public and private funding for CAP: The Cyber Awareness Program should be a public / private partnership with focused national oversight. Coordinated funding sources should include federal and state governments, private and public corporations, charitable foundations, and parents.

CSIA and its members fund several initiatives for teaching cyber security, ethics and safety. To obtain a copy of CSIA’s report, "Teaching Children Cyber Security and Ethics," please visit