Building Cyber Safety into the School Curriculum
Safer Internet Day is here again. For 21 years, the campaign has empowered people everywhere to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively—especially students and young people.
Gen understands the importance of building good digital habits early. That’s why Norton, a leader in consumer Cyber Safety and part of Gen, partnered with Discovery Education the worldwide education technology leader nurturing student curiosity and supporting educators. In 2023, we created My Digital Life. This program, designed for educators in grades 3-8, features lesson plans, videos and interactive tools aligned to learning standards and meant to address the sorts of issues young people face online, things like cyberbullying, privacy risks, misinformation, viruses and scams.
In just a few months since its launch, My Digital Life has proven to be a favorite amongst many Discovery Education educators across the country, helping kids learn how to be positive digital citizens.
What Is My Digital Life?
My Digital Life is available to all on mydigitallife.discoveryeducation.com and to users of Discovery Education Experience, the company’s award-winning K-12 learning platform. The resources encourage responsible online decision-making by teaching students common warning signs about viruses or scams, how to stay safe on social media and gaming apps, and the basics of digital privacy. Norton helped design these resources and they are refreshed regularly, making sure they stay current on the latest cyber threats and best practices.
What Has Its Impact Been?
Elementary and middle school educators in the U.S. have embraced My Digital Life. “I have been sharing this with my fourth and fifth graders,” wrote one teacher. “They have been really engaged, as it seems to nail that intangible magical mix: fun to watch for middle-graders, not too baby-ish/uncool, AND educational.” Another wrote, “This is so important!”, while another added, “Should be part of every classroom! It is essential to learn as a thinking skill!”
Between September and December 2023, teachers brought the My Digital Life platform to more than 102,000 students in 47 states and 712 school districts, 62% of which were Title I schools.
In 2024, My Digital Life has recently expanded into to schools in the U.K. The partnership with Discovery Education will also launch a new component called Career Connect, in which Gen team members can find skills-based volunteering opportunities and connect directly with teachers and students.
We also continue to drive Cyber Safety education for children and families around the world. Examples include The Smart Talk, which helps families have open, positive, ongoing conversations about digital safety, our Surf Smart 2.0 program, a collaboration with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and the Guide to Online Safety for LGBTQ+ Young People, created in partnership with The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ young people.