Texas Tech University

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TTU K-12 Sponsors CyberSafe Initiative with KLBK-TV

By Leslie Cranford, Media Relations Coordinator

TTU K-12, a unit of Texas Tech University's eLearning & Academic Partnerships, has teamed up with KLBK-TV (CBS) on CyberSafe, an awareness campaign to educate parents, children and the community about the importance of knowing the pitfalls and dangers of online activity.

"Since the early 1990s Texas Tech has had a kindergarten through 12th grade program, offering options to students whose needs aren't being met by traditional schools, or need supplemental courses. We serve more than 20,000 students worldwide per year through our programs," said Justin R. Louder, associate vice provost for Texas Tech University eLearning & Academic Partnerships. "It makes perfect sense for TTU K-12 to partner on this initiative because our students are working and taking courses solely online."

TTU K-12's sponsorship allows for social media posts, news stories and other platforms to give a consistent message to a broad audience, regarding children and youth's use of Internet, social media, and other types of digital interaction. With a declining number of families accessing the Internet from a desktop computer, parents may perceive less control over devices like phones, laptops and tablets.

Louder said TTU K-12 historically has partnered with Texas Tech's IT Division to work on cybersecurity initiatives that are tailored to the K-12 audience.

Recently TTU K-12 sent webcam covers to all of the parents with a letter that said, "We want your student to be safe working online, whether they're taking classes with us or just on social media. Here is a webcam cover that will provide an extra level of privacy," Louder said.

John Thomas, managing director, Technology Support, in Texas Tech's IT Division, says our society needs to be training our young kids to be good digital citizens.

"We grew up being told, 'Look both ways before crossing the street,' and all of those other tips to be a smart citizen, you get as you grow up," Thomas said. "Are we missing out on teaching our young kids to be good digital citizens? It's like the electronic version of 'look both ways when crossing the street,' only in the social media environment."

Louder believes messages should be tailored to different audiences, making information about cybersecurity available to both parents and students."

"You don't necessarily talk about cybersecurity in the same language to a first or second grader as you would a high school senior or a college freshman, or their parents" Louder said.

Thomas agreed that knowledge is power. "I definitely think awareness from the youngest levels encourages empowerment, so we need to empower our kids to look out for those pitfalls."

Find out more about the CyberSafe campaign in the KLBK Trends & Friends interview.