Science Rendezvous outreach reveals a generation of security savvy kids

On Saturday, May 12th a generation of budding scientists took over St. George Street to celebrate Science Rendezvous, a family-friendly science festival. Information Technology Service’s education and awareness team was there to educate young people about information security through three activities: our pom pom survey, our prize wheel and our web game, “Patch vs the Nefarious Code”. After speaking with over 170 children, we were amazed by how many of these kids were already security savvy.

The education and awareness team has been running information security pop up booths for students, staff and faculty at the University of Toronto for over a year and this was our first opportunity to connect with school-age children. They blew us away with their security and privacy know-how: they knew to double check permission settings before downloading apps and to be familiar with social media platforms’ privacy policies. This is a refreshing departure from the reactions we received from some of the adults we spoke to that same day. Some of these adults seemed to have a laissez-faire attitude about security, saying: “Well, they’re going to collect my data anyways aren’t they?” or “Who cares, I have nothing to hide?” These kids on the other hand, were thoughtful and engaged, clearly mindful of their digital safety. It looks like the next generation is ready to face the security and privacy challenges of the future.

Want to try playing “Patch vs. The Nefarious Code”? Visit https://securitymatters.utoronto.ca/InfoSec/src/intro.html.