High School Group Writes on Being ‘Cyber Smart’

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A group of high school students has written an e-book to help steer their same-age peers toward safe practices.

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology students Abhishek Allamsetty, Jack Duvall, Richard Lun, Monica Saraf, William Tan and Gabriel Wimmer worked together on “Cyber Smarts for Students” through their nonprofit CyberSmart Now. The organization aims to educate middle school and high school students on safe internet use through classes, publications and other activities.

“We felt (writing the e-book) was the only way we could cover all the topics we wanted to inform people about,” team members said in a statement. “It’s a concise book, but its chapters each contain comprehensive and applicable actions that can be taken to address cyber security or technology-related threats students can encounter.”

The book’s 12 chapters cover a range of topics including protecting data while traveling, creating strong passwords, managing backup systems, remote access security, cyberbullying, safe online shopping, phishing, scamming, security issues around internet of things, and related topics.

The book also points readers to additional resources, such as cyberbullying.org/report, where users can report bullying behavior.

CyberSmart Now team members

The group members spent a couple of months working on the book and compiling their collective knowledge and experience. Each member has been a finalist in CyberPatriot’s cybersecurity competitions, and Saraf and Tan were 2015 champions.

“Our hope is that parts of the book stick with students and that it becomes habit because trying out one of the solutions we provide does no good when you’re on the web every single day,” team members said. “The insufficient habits that our current generation has will, unless changed, stick with them as they grow up. As our world becomes more interconnected with technology, it is vital that we prepare the next generation to interact with it safely.”

The group is working to introduce the book and the ideas in it to a broader range of students by making presentations at parent-teacher associations, school boards and others connected with teens.

Each of the CyberSmart Now students is interested in computer science as a career field after college.

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