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Volunteering leave: Helping students to understand the importance of cyber-security

On Wednesday 29th July I was invited to participate in an online event designed for teenagers, focusing on the importance of cyber-security and the current themes surrounding it. The event was for students at the Wolverhampton University and delivered by the West Midlands Regional Cyber Crime Unit; I was acting as a helping hand to answer anything that was technical.

While the event was designed for university students, we also found that both teachers and parents attended as they had an appetite to learn more too. The event was a great success and provided a relaxing and informal environment for students, teachers, and parents to ask questions relating to cyber-security.

As part of my role I was on the answering panel, I’m pleased to say we had great engagement from the students and plenty of questions were asked! The event lasted all day with talks from different people on areas such as security on the web, the dark web, cybercrime, GDPR and regulation, the law, ways to protect yourself and finally what hackers can really do. We highlighted the importance of the basics like passwords and how quickly we could find a default password and then access a device. The teachers also raised questions about the best ways to encourage students to start learning cyber-security, and how to discourage cyber-bullying (one example is making students aware that some laws apply from the age of 13, as nearly all of them thought it was from the age of 16).

Whilst from a personal perspective, it was quite challenging being in front of a screen all day answering questions, I was really happy that it provided huge value to the attendees. This led to receiving great feedback with other schools and the Regional Cyber Crime Unit asking me to attend future events and talks surrounding cyber-security. For my first time delivering a webinar as a speaker, I gained some fantastic experience and it even fuelled new ideas to use in future talks too.

I’m so happy that I was able to use my volunteering leave to educate the future workforce about cyber-security, and I hope that some of my knowledge has inspired the students to learn more, (or even look at it as a future career). Above all, I am just pleased that I have shared some useful takeaways for the attendees to use while keeping safe online and cyber-aware.

Richard Tyrrell

Aug 4, 2020

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