Although this is designed primarily for teachers and students, mentors and mentoring organizations can and should be adapting or using this tool. Use perhaps can be led by a mentoring organization via a school or introduced to the school. Exam participation must be through a school, but all adults can access and use the information. Let's help protect our mentees from cyber predators.
New Cyber Safety Website for Teachers, Students
Posted on the FBI website 10/15/12
From the website:
After entering the FBI-SOS website, students “travel” to their grade-specific island, which includes either seven or eight learning portals to visit. These areas address topics such as the protection of personal information, password strength, cell phone safety, social networking, and online gaming safety. The videos also include real-life stories of kids who have faced cyber bullies and online predators. Visit SOS.
It’s called the FBI-SOS (Safe Online Surfing) Internet Challenge—and it was developed with the assistance of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and with the input of teachers and schools.
FBI-SOS is available through a newly revamped website at https://sos.fbi.gov. The site features six grade-specific “islands”—for third- through eighth-grade students—highlighting various aspects of cyber security through games, videos, and other interactive features. Each island has either seven or eight areas to explore—with a specific cyber safety lesson—and its own central character and visual theme. For example, fourth grade features Ice Island, complete with falling snow and penguins.
To encourage participation and enhance learning, FBI-SOS includes both testing for students and competition among schools. Each grade level has its own exam, which can only be taken after teachers have signed up their respective classes and all activities on the island have been completed by each student. And once all the exams for a class are graded (done electronically by the FBI), schools appear on a leader board in three categories based on the number of total participants. During each rating period, top-scoring schools in each category nationwide are awarded an FBI-SOS trophy and, when possible, receive a visit from a local FBI agent. All public, private, and home schools are eligible to participate.
For teachers and schools, FBI-SOS provides virtually everything needed to teach good cyber citizenship:
■A free, ready-made curriculum that meets state and federal Internet safety mandates (see sidebar for topics covered);
■Age-appropriate content for each of the six grade levels;
■A printable teacher’s guide that spells out how teachers can sign up their classes and use the site; and
■Detailed rules and instructions for students.
Can anyone visit the website? Absolutely. Kids of all ages—and even adults—can explore the site, play the games, watch the videos, and learn all about cyber safety. However, the exam can only be taken by third- to eighth-grade students whose classes have been registered by their teachers.