(ISC)2, the largest not-for-profit membership body of certified information security professionals worldwide, is engaging with children at UK schools to mark the ninth annual world Safer Internet Day.
Young people treat their online safety far differently to their real world safety, and this is likely to filter through to the workplace, said Tim Wilson, lead UK volunteer for the (ISC)2 Safe and Secure Online programme and assistant director ICT, NHS East London and City.
“Organisations will require approved and robust human resources and information security policies and processes in place to mitigate these vulnerabilities, while there is also a real opportunity to motivate change in the workplace by helping employees today spearhead change at home,” he said.
In 2012, 7 February has been designated Safer Internet Day by organiser Insafe, which is a European network of awareness centres that promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially by children and young people across the world.
Volunteers from the (ISC)2 global Safe and Secure Online programme are to use Safer Internet Day to talk to and educate more than 4,000 children at 23 UK schools about cyber bullying, abusive gamers, identity theft and malicious threats.
While the programme helps children to be safer online, volunteers also survey children and encourage discussion of risks and behavioural concerns.
“A review of developing behaviour among the young can offer some revealing insight into the characteristics of the workforce of the not-too-distant future,” said lead volunteer Tim Wilson.
Disregard for internet dangers
There is a strong possibility that the online behaviour of kids today will impact how they will behave when they become part of the workforce, he said.
In of a survey of more than 1,500 10-12 year olds in the London area, 65% said they use the internet every day, with 50% using social networking sites every day. Half also said they are online after 10pm on school nights.
The survey confirms widespread flouting of age limits, with 63% of 10 to 12 year olds using the social networking site Facebook, despite the requirement to be at least 13 to join.
A significant number are putting themselves in physical danger, as 10% admitted they have met an online friend in person, with 28% of them going to meet the friend on their own.
Youngsters are uninhibited in giving out personal information and have no qualms about circumventing parent and school authorisations to access social networking sites, said Wilson.
“In light of this, there is a high likelihood that kids will take this mindset to the work environment as well. Similar to flouting parental control, ignoring company policy of acceptable use of social networking in the work place may not be considered a serious offence by them,” he said.
For this reason, Wilson believes it is important for information security managers to develop an understanding of attitudes, along with measures to correct them where necessary.