Girl Scouts will earn cybersecurity badges starting in kindergarten

Posted at 5:48 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 19:39:22-04

TULSA -- The Girl Scouts are rolling out 18 cybersecurity badges for members of all ages.

In kindergarten, the girls will learn about protecting themselves and their data online. The opportunity to earn badges will continue through twelfth grade when they learn about careers in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM.

The girls will also learn about firewalls and white hacking.

“It is very easy for people to assume that the Girl Scouts are antiquated because we have so many traditions and we have so many activities that we have been doing since the get go,” Jennifer White said.

White is a leader for her daughter Harper’s brownie troop. She is excited about the opportunity to work with her group on cybersecurity. She said it is very relevant to start at a young age.

“I think that as parents, not just as troop leaders, it is very easy to fall into the realm of 'teach them to be afraid of the Internet so they don’t get on and they don’t get hurt,' ” White said. “We are finding more and more that, yes we need to teach children a health respect for the Internet. What we really need to do is teach them the tools to navigate it.”

The Girl Scouts hope that by equipping them with knowledge today could turn these girls into our cybersecurity problem solvers of tomorrow.

“The Girl Scouts is starting at an early age to educate girls and get them excited about computer programming and computer science and coding, so that we are encouraging girls to go into that field,” White said. “I think the Girl Scouts are ahead of the game there.”

The Computing Technology Industry Association reports 69-percent of women who do not have a career in information technology said they did not know what opportunities were available, so they did not pursue one.

The Girl Scouts hope that by peaking their interest at an early age, the 1.8 million girls involved nationwide will not be able to say they did not know about the opportunities.

“The technical field already has a gender gap and so already with the projections that cybersecurity is going to have more and more demand for workers in this field,” Katie Gill Miller, the Chief Operating Officer of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma, said. “It is a great opportunity for girls to learn skills and explore opportunities for their future.”

Girls will be able to start earning the badges in Sept. 2018.

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