Teens and cybersecurity in the classroom is now a subject both parents and educators need to take seriously. This past weekend, I attended my 20th high school reunion. We had the opportunity to walk thru the high school and the classrooms as part of the reunion. Funny, we didn’t see an overhead projector. There were no VCRs on carts. There were smart boards and computers, and later this month as the classrooms fill – they will be filled with students on their various devices. 

Teen Cybersecurity ClassroomTeens and Cybersecurity in the Classroom

Teens in the classroom now a days have their phones, laptops, tablets and/or smart watches that give them access to just about anything and everything. From cheating to being a distraction, while there is a place for technology in the classroom – there also has to be limits. 

McAfee commissioned MSI International to conduct an online global survey to learn more about the current state of cybersecurity, device usage, cyberbullying and cyber education in the classroom. 3,902 high school students, grades 9th-12th grade – ages 14 – 18-years in the U.S., UK, Australia and Canada were surveyed. Specifically, in the U.S. 1,201 high school students (9th -12th grade) ages 14 – 18-years were surveyed.

Here is what McAfee learned about teens and cybersecurity in the classroom. These are things both parents and educators need to know!

Teens Cybersecurity in the Classroom

Technology has become an everyday part of the classroom experience for students.

  • More than half (57%) of students spend three or more hours per day using an
    internet connected device during school hours for school-specific work. (U.S. 63%)

A majority of schools are taking the necessary steps to protect and educate students
and devices from cyberthreats – but there are still gaps.

  • Most students (80%) globally and in the U.S. think their school takes the necessary
    steps to ensure the school-owned devices they use are protected from cyberthreats.
  • Schools are taking the time to educate students. A majority (86%) have been
    provided with cybersecurity education/guidelines. (U.S. 84%)

Students are still trying to get around school security measures.

  • When it comes to getting around cyber restrictions put in place by schools, 24% of
    the students have successfully accessed banned content. (U.S. 31%)
  • 48% of teens reported at least trying to access the banned content.

Cyberbullying starts early and students experience it in various ways.

  • Almost one out of every four (22%) (U.S. 30%) students have been cyberbullied, and
    44% (U.S. 51%) are experiencing or seeing it before the 9th grade.
  • Facebook (69%) (U.S. 71%), Instagram (46%) (U.S. 62%) and Snapchat (38%) (U.S. 49%)
    are the most used social networks for cyberbullying.

Students use their devices for more than just posting selfies.

  • Almost half of students (47%) (U.S. 62%) claim to have seen or heard of another
    student using a connected device in the classroom to cheat on an exam, quiz, project
    or other assignment – with only 21% (U.S. 29%) admitting to doing it themselves.
  • Boys are more likely to use a connected device to cheat than girls (21% vs.
    14%).

Devices in the classroom are here to stay.

  • 86% of the students spend at least one hour per day using an internet-connected device
    during school hours for school-specific work. (U.S. 89%)
  • Fifty-seven percent students spend at least three hours per day using an internet-connected
    device during school hours for school-specific work. (U.S. 63%)

Schools are taking the time to educate students about cybersecurity and device usage
guidelines.

  • 80% of students surveyed globally and in the U.S., think that their school takes the necessary
    steps to ensure the school-owned devices they use are protected from cyberthreats.
  • A small percentage of students (5%) don’t think their school takes the necessary steps to
    ensure school devices are secure and 15% don’t know.

    • U.S.: 4% of students don’t think their school doesn’t take the necessary steps, and 15%
      don’t know
  • Most students (86%) feel up-to- date and informed about cybersecurity education/guidelines from their school before accessing school-owned connected devices (U.S. 84%)
    • 45% receive regularly education/guidelines throughout the year (U.S. 44%)
    • 30% received instructions only once before they started using connected devices (U.S. 32%)
    • 11% report that their teacher tried to talk about staying safe online but the student knew more about cybersecurity than the teacher. (U.S. 8%)
    • 14% didn’t receive any cybersecurity education/guidelines before being allowed to access school-owned connected devices. (U.S. 16%)
  • As student get older they receive less guidance.
    • 16% of 16 – 18-year old students didn’t receive any education/guidelines versus 11% of 14 –15-year-olds.

As teens age, cybersecurity education becomes less of a priority.

  • 38% of parents regularly talk with their (14-18- year old) children about how to stay safe (U.S.
    46%)
  • 50% of parents of 14-15- year-olds regularly talk about staying safe online, but for 16-18- year-
    olds this percentage dropped to 30%. (U.S. 67% dropped to 33%)
  • 14% of 16-18- olds globally and in the U.S., have never talked with their parents about how to
    stay safe online.

Almost one out of every four (22%) students have been cyberbullied, and a shocking 44% are experiencing or seeing it before the 9th grade.

  • 22% of the students surveyed claimed to have been cyberbullied. (U.S. 30%)
    • U.S.: Females get cyberbullied more often (30%) than males (29%)
  • Facebook (69%), Instagram (46%) and Snapchat (38%) are the most used social networks for
    cyberbullying.

    • U.S.: Facebook (71%), Instagram (62%) and Snapchat (49%) are the most used social
      networks for cyberbullying.
  • 44% of the students surveyed have experienced or seen cyberbullying before 9th grade. (U.S. 51%)
  • Most children (68%) would feel comfortable talking to a teacher, coach or school administrator if they had been cyberbullied. (U.S. 71%)
  • More than half of the student (54%) feel that teachers and school administrators openly discuss cyberbullying and are trying to prevent it. (U.S. 55%)
  • One third of students (34%) feel that cyber bullies aren’t being reprimanded or disciplined enough. (U.S. 32%)

Students are finding ways around school online security restrictions.

  • When it comes to getting around cyber restrictions put in place by schools, 24% of the
    students have successfully accessed banned content. (U.S. 31%)
  • Almost half (45%) of the students were able to access any (21%), or some (24%) social media
    sites on school-owned connected devices.

    • U.S.: More than half (54%) of the students were able to access any (29%), or some (25%)
      social media sites on school-owned connected devices.
  • Most visited social media websites, using school-owned connected devices in the classroom, are YouTube (37%), Facebook or Facebook Messenger (28%) and Instagram (10%)
    • U.S.: YouTube (34%), Facebook or Facebook Messenger (24%) and Instagram (14%)

Cheating in the classroom is happening through school-owned and personal devices.

  • 21% of the students admit to using a connected device in the classroom to cheat on an
    exam, quiz, project, or other assignment (U.S. 29%)
  • Almost half of students (47%) claim to have seen or heard of another student using a
    connected device in the classroom to cheat on an exam, quiz, project or other assignment.
    (U.S. 62%)

Teens and Cybersecurity in the classroomTips for Teens on Staying Safe Online:

1. Mind what you share – Personal information should be shared in moderation and only
when necessary. Also, ensure that you are enabling privacy settings within social networks.
Without privacy setting enabled your profile is open to everyone, which could increase the
chances of being bullied or personal photos being downloaded and manipulated.

2. Keep passwords private – Avoid sharing passwords with anyone other than parents or
guardians. Once you share your password you no longer have control of your account.

3. Ignore, block or unfriend. Block and report cyberbullies by clicking on the ‘report’ icon that
is provided across social networks. If the issue persists, ask for help from your parents or
teachers to resolve the problem.

4. Talk to trusted adults – If you are cyberbullied, talk to your parents, teachers, coaches or
counselor for support when.

Tips for Parents:

1. Talk to your teens – The best way to ensure your teen is staying safe online is to talk to
them. Ask them about what they do online and encourage safe online behavior like avoiding
interacting with individuals they don’t know in real life.

2. Use the social networks that your kids are using – Not only will you gain a better
understanding about what your kids do online, but you will also become a more trusted
source because you will know the ins and outs of their favorite apps/networks.

3. Protecting all your devices – Be sure to install comprehensive security software, like
McAfee Live Safe, across all family devices. Having security software is essential to protecting
your family’s devices and privacy.

Tips for Schools on Cyber Education & Device Usage:

1. Create student contracts in the classroom – The first step to creating guidelines for devices
in class is to clearly spell out the terms of a ‘classroom device usage’ so there is no room for
misunderstanding. Certain conditions such as staying on task and being considerate of
others’ privacy must be upheld by students for devices to be used for in-classroom work.

2. Create a commitment to cybersecurity education – Regular, relevant and up-to- date online
safety education for students is a must. If schools incorporate smartphones, laptops or
tablets into the classroom, students need to be educated and reminded about responsible
device usage. Understanding how to avoid online pitfalls and dangers, truly respect other
students’ privacy, and appropriate online behavior including tone, manners and etiquette
are good topics.

3. Keep parents updated and involved – Parents need education too. Schools should
frequently update parents about how technology is used in the classroom setting. Not only
does this promote understanding and support from parents but, equally importantly, it
helps bridge the technology gap between parents and their kids.

Infographic and teen cybersecurity in the classroom survey stats provided by McAfee.

Here are a few more posts from Digital Mom Blog about technology and parenting that you may find of interest:

Teens and Social Media

Parents Guide to Teens and Social Media

Teens and Sexting

7 Things You Need to Know About Teens and Sexting