Surveys have shown that children and adolescents are more likely to listen to their peers than their parents or other authority figures when it comes to judging risk. It was with this idea in mind that New York state government announced on Tuesday the launch of a K-12 poster competition to get the word out about dangers online.
The NYS Office of Information Technology Services’ security division and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center are challenging students to create posters with messages about online risks that will resonate with their peers.
“As our youth spend more and more time online, it is increasingly important to teach online safety in our schools and in our homes,” New York State Chief Information Officer Robert Samson explained in a press statement.
The state’s chief information security officer, Deborah Snyder, said the competition will do more than build awareness — it will support a pipeline of “future digital leaders” as more students are exposed to potential careers in science and technology. And, she said, it provides new perspectives on the topic.
“It is refreshing to see their perspective and how they portray the importance of being safe online,” Snyder said in a press statement.
The winning posters will be announced early next year and will be featured in a 2020 calendar produced by the state called the New York State Kids Safe Online Calendar. Additionally, winners will be entered into national poster contest held annually by MS-ISAC , a nonprofit multi-state cybersecurity information sharing center.
The MS-ISAC Poster Contest is a national contest available to K-12 students who have the opportunity to be included in a calendar that is distributed nationally as part of the organization’s Cybersecurity Awareness Toolkit. MS-ISAC’s contest allows students either to draw their poster in a single panel or as a four-panel comic.
Prompts for younger students include questions such as, “How should you treat others online?” High school students are given more advanced topics like, “How can you preserve your online reputation or “digital footprint” on both social media and elsewhere on the internet?”
A few past examples of winning posters can be found on the MS-ISAC website . One student depicts a computer as an anglerfish, an underwater predator that coerces prey into its jaws using an attractive bioluminescent lure. Another poster contains a split image where on one side a girl is shown dreaming of romance and on the other side is the unpleasant reality of her online relationship: a brutish older man at the computer, chomping on a cigarette.
Submittals for the New York state poster contest are due by Dec. 4.