Does your child know what to do if he is being bullied online? Does your daughter know how to play online games safely? Can your child limit access to information posted online?
Your child can learn the answers to these questions and many others through the FBI-SOS (Safe Online Surfing) Internet Challenge. As part of its longstanding crime prevention and public outreach efforts, the FBI announced this free, web-based initiative designed to help educate 3rd- through 8th-grade students about cyber safety.
Since the launch of its current version in late 2012, educators in Mississippi have recognized the effectiveness and convenience of the FBI-SOS program in meeting cyber safety instruction goals. “All aspects of Internet safety are covered in one place. Facebook issues, viruses, texting — the lessons are already there, ready for us to teach,” said one Mississippi teacher.
Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI in Mississippi, is notifying parents and teachers that all public, private, and home schools are eligible to participate in this entertaining and educational program, which can be accessed at any time during the year, in the classroom, or at home.
The FBI-SOS Internet Challenge was developed with the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, with input from teachers and schools. FBI-SOS is available through its newly revamped website. The site features six grade-specific “islands.” Through the website, students “travel” to their grade-specific island, which includes either seven or eight learning portals to visit. Using different types of media, such as games and videos, these areas address topics such as the protection of personal information, password strength, cell phone safety, social networking and online gaming safety. The videos include real-life stories of kids who have faced cyber bullies and online predators. After students have completed all activities on the island, they are given an exam. Top scoring schools within categories, which are based on the number of participating students, are awarded an FBI-SOS trophy and, when possible, receive a visit from a local FBI agent.
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 3rd- to 8th-grade students whose classes have been registered by their teachers.
“The FBI does not collect students’ names, ages, or other identifying information through this website,” stated SAC McMullen. “Our goal in creating this program is to provide virtually everything a parent or teacher may need to teach safe, responsible cyber citizenship to their children and students. “
For additional information, please visit https://sos.fbi.gov.