A regional initiative aimed at helping Caribbean children navigate cyberspace safely was recently launched in two islands.
The project, which is being spearheaded within the region by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, was piloted in Barbados and Jamaica. In Barbados, it was launched by the bank’s Technology and Enterprise Security team during October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month and is continuing.
It targets first formers in secondary schools and Class 3 and 4 students in the primary schools using the cartoon character Garfield. Garfield’s Cyber Security Adventures programme from the Centre of Cyber Safety and Education aims to make children aware of the benefits and dangers of using the Internet.
The bank’s Information Security Project Officer Khristina Rogers said 33 schools in Barbados were participating in the programme which advocates digital family wellness and brings cyber safety education in the Caribbean to the forefront.
Ms Rogers added that the initiative was part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility outreach through its Adopt-a-Cause programme which sees staff taking on projects dear to them in the communities in which they operate. They not only make financial contributions but volunteer their time to engage with the projects.
The Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventure Kits examine topics that are common issues children face online such as privacy, safe posting and cyberbullying. They are structured to create interactive sessions with the students who are asked to speak about their participation and conduct on internet sites including social media. The materials in the kits include videos, comic books and stickers. Before and after viewing the videos, the children discuss with the bank’s staff the relevant safety issues raised and how they would use tips from the videos when they go online.
Ms Rogers said that to ensure that they reach the targeted number of schools, they joined with colleagues from the audit and risk management departments. Although, they are cyber security savvy given their professional roles, she said they attended short training sessions to prepare them for the experience in the schools.
One of these volunteers, Kelvine Jordan-Rowe of the Operational Risk Team who visited Queen’s College, said the session was well received by the students and she was happy that such a beneficial programme was being produced by the bank.
Ms Rogers who described the programme as more than a “one-off opportunity” noted that the schools were given the materials. Therefore teachers can use them to teach other students, now and in the future. She said her experience so far had been very satisfying and she had heard some amazing stories and learned about websites visited by students.
Ms Rogers said schools which they were not able to visit would be brought together for a session at the bank’s Warrens Great House location.
“Garfield’s S.A.F.E. program coincides with CIBC FirstCaribbean’s passion and devotion to bringing awareness of digital health and wellness for children,” she concluded. (PR)