At SchoolSphero Team
A teacher works with four younger students on a laptop in a colorful classroom. Cybersecurity education is important for teachers and students to learn.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing sectors as cyberattacks become increasingly common and sophisticated. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global cybersecurity market is expected to hit $424.97 billion in 2030. For today’s students, cybersecurity will be an important component of their education and everyday life for decades to come. Early education plays a critical role in both protecting themselves and preparing themselves for the future workforce.

What Is Cybersecurity, and Why Is it Important?

Cybersecurity is defined as “protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks,” according to Cisco. With over 30,000 websites hacked every day, cybercrime is expected to eventually cost the world $10.5 trillion. Cybercrime exploits and damages people and businesses, and protecting yourself from it is one of the most important skills in today’s world.

Cybersecurity offers two-fold importance to kids: learning to defend themselves and preparing for their future careers. According to SurfShark, 12 million kids are exposed to a cyber risk of some kind, and by 2030, cybersecurity careers are expected to grow 33%, making security one of the fastest-growing job markets. Bad actors in cybersecurity range from unethical hackers to cyber terrorists and state-sponsored hackers.

The Different Types of Cybercriminals, Cybercrimes, and Cyberbullying

Cybercrime toward kids comes in different formats, from cyberbullying to identity theft. According to SurfShark, 9 million kids are affected by cyberbullying, and 6 million experienced cyber threats - and that’s just the U.S. Almost 40% of kids ages 12-17 have been bullied online. According to the FBI, almost 90% of sexual advances toward kids happen through online messaging and chat rooms. Cybersecurity for kids helps create safe online practices in their personal life and prepares them for the job demands of the future.

The Demand for Jobs in Cybersecurity

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for cybersecurity jobs to grow 33% in the near future. There’s also an increasingly large skills gap in cybersecurity, with companies struggling to hire and retain the right talent. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there is a gap of 3.5 million workers, making it difficult for companies to maintain stringent security standards and innovate against new, advanced attacks. With a talent shortage leading to businesses remaining understaffed and under supported, organizations are increasingly vulnerable to data breaches and hacks. This means the end consumer — sometimes, kids and schools — are increasingly vulnerable as well.

The Need for Diversity in Cybersecurity Roles

Only 25% of cybersecurity experts are women, and only 9% are Latino or Black, highlighting the need for increased diversity. When technology fields are only composed of one demographic, inherent biases and inequalities become baked into the technology. The benefits of diversity in cybersecurity are numerous, including increased innovation, a higher likelihood of addressing all cybersecurity problems, and enhanced collaboration.

Cybersecurity education in schools starts as early as elementary school and should be a foundational part of the education curriculum even through college. As more and more kids begin at a younger age, educators can help encourage interest among demographics that typically backed out of STEM-focused education. For example, by 8th grade, only half of girls previously interested in STEM are still engaged.

Why Cybersecurity Education Is Crucial

For today’s educators and students, creating a foundational level of cybersecurity education helps keep kids safe online and prepared for the future. Creating confident kids who are well-versed in computer science, robotics, and more keeps them hyper-vigilant about their safety online and engaged in education throughout their academic careers.

Learn More About Cybersecurity for Educators and Students

Sphero equips educators and schools with the tools, lessons, and resources to introduce cybersecurity education to kids. Tools like the programmable robot, Sphero BOLT, bring lessons to life and create hands-on learning opportunities about cyberbullying, hacking, phishing, encryption, and more. Check out the free coding apps here and learn more about Sphero’s robots and STEM kits here.

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