NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Things are always changing when it comes to protecting our privacy online. Now, imagine how tough it is for kids.
As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu found out Thursday, college students are teaching children to protect themselves from internet dangers.
Such is the case at John H. Finley School in Harlem, where Fordham Law School students are volunteering their time.
“In the real world we have to know about this stuff because there’s a lot of things going on,” 9-year-old Ahmed Conde said. “Like people hacking other people, catfishing and stalking.”
The five-week program covers everything from privacy controls to navigating social media.
The program started back in 2013, teaching seventh graders, but administrators realized that was too late and are now focusing on fourth and fifth graders.
The law students said they are blown away by the youngsters’ capacity to absorb complicated information.
“They’re being introduced at such a young age that they’re really grasping it and learning it a lot quicker than I was anticipating,” Joseph Caruso said.
The children learn the right and wrong way to choose passwords.
“I like use to do ABC1234,” 10-year-old Legend Butler said with a laugh.
Now it’s all about creating a secure password.
“My favorite character from a movie and my last initial and then random numbers,” Butler said.
“Now I feel safer knowing about what’s true and how to keep things private,” 10-year-old Julieta Dominguez added.
The Privacy Education program has reached hundreds of students in different schools, and the curriculum is free online for any teacher to use in their classroom.
“We would teach it in more schools, ourselves, if we had more law student volunteers,” said Fordham Law Senior Fellow Andrea Flink.
It has been taught at John H. Finley School for four years. Principal Odelphia Pierre said as a result she’s seen a big drop in cyberbullying and kids posting inappropriate pictures and messages.
“This year, have we had any? No we haven’t had any this year, so keep my fingers crossed,” Pierre said.
The students told Hsu the program has really opened their eyes.
“I make sure I don’t post anything bad and stuff,” 10-year-old Zachariah Wynnhill said. “And I don’t have to deal with the consequences of me getting in trouble by my mom.”
A very important lesson.
For more information on Fordham Law’s Privacy Education program, please click here.