Cyber Safety-The Orlando Times
Garfield Cyber Safety Adventures Series Program Wins Prestigious Learning Magazine 2019 Teachers’ ChoiceSM Award
BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
CLEARWATER, FL– The Center for Cyber Safety and Education announced its Garfield Cyber Safety Adventures Series Program has won the national Learning® Magazine 2019 Teachers’ Choice Award for the Classroom.
Teachers chose the program, run by the Clearwater-based nonprofit Center for Cyber Safety and Education, for its constructive approach to engaging kids and empowering them to make good decisions online.
Introduced in the fall of 2016 by the Center and legendary cartoonist Jim Davis, Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures include cartoons-with the Hollywood voice cast, comic/work books, posters, trading cards, and stickers that show Garfield and friends tackling cyber safety issues such as privacy, the dangers of posting online, online etiquette, cyberbullying, and more. The Center earned the Teachers’ Choice Award for its Garfield lessons on privacy, safe posting and cyberbullying.
“When we first gave Garfield the job of cyber safety champion for kids, we thought we were on to something,” said Garfield creator Jim Davis. “This award validates that relatable, engaging characters like Garfield make becoming a good digital citizen not only easy but fun.”
The decision came after they conducted a study of kids in grades 4-8 to better understand their internet usage behavior. It was found that 90% had a tablet, cell phone, or computer; 40% connected or chatted with a stranger, and of those, 15% tried to meet the stranger.
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education began seven years ago as a charitable foundation of a bigger non-profit organization (ISC)2 , the world’s leader in certifying cyber security professionals.
The Center works to ensure that people across the globe have a positive and safe experience online. Research on internet usage and cyber security is one of their main functions. They also offer college scholarships for those who are looking to go into cyber security, and have given $1.3 Million in scholarships since their beginning. They also offer programs for veterans with cyber experience and send cyber security experts to speak at schools and other locations.
“As we head into National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we could not be prouder to know that the entire series of Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures exceeds educators’ expectations and meets students’ needs in the classroom,” said Patrick Craven, Center director.
Davis created two new characters for the program, ‘Dr. Cybrina’ the Internet Safety Expert, and her robot assistant ‘Bisby’.
“We chose a female on purpose because girls aren’t going into STEM careers,” said Craven. “We wanted to create a character that they might find fun and someone to look up to that may encourage girls.”
After a 30-minute cyber safety course with Garfield, nearly 500 second to sixth grade students improved their cyber safety knowledge by 28 percent.
“18-month-old kids are playing with iPads and know where their games are,” said James McQuiggan, the Volunteer of the Year and local (ISC)2 Chapter President. He has been making presentations on behalf of (ISC)2 since 2011. “When it comes to social media and the online presence kids need to understand what they can and can’t do and they need to be aware of what dangers are out there.”
The chapter has bought kits and plan on going to go out into the community to present them to various groups in the upcoming months. McQuiggan has already made presentations at Northlake Park Elementary and St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in Winter Park.
“We are thrilled to recognize the Center for Cyber Safety and Education as a 2019 Teachers' Choice Award for the Classroom recipient. Our evaluators felt Garfield’s Cyber Safety Adventures make an excellent addition to the cyber safety curriculum in any classroom," said Heather Crews Lyons, Teachers' Choice Awards manager, Learning® Magazine.
The program has reached over 30,000 students and 15 different countries.
The center was also recognized by the Clearwater Chamber as non-profit of the year.
“We are just excited that they like what we created,” said Craven. “It’s fun to get the awards but what they really mean is that people are recognizing the work we are doing. We are a small staff of 5 trying to cover the world.”
To bring Garfield to your school, library, company or organization, please visit www.iamcybersafe.org or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.727.339.6508. Their website breaks down the pricing and offers bundle and digital options.