IT Infrastructure & Management

Focusing on Cyber Safety

April 02, 2008 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Jeanne McCann, the managing editor of, recently did an interview for Digital Directions with Ron Teixeira, the executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, a group of private and public organizations that provides information and tools to improve cyber safety. Mr. Teixeira was part of a panel discussion at South by Southwest, a music, film, and interactive media festival held March 7-11 in Austin, Texas. She asked him about cyber-safety issues related to schools.

DD: Schools already have so much that they are mandated to teach. How can they find time to focus on cyber safety?

Teixeira: One analogy I use is that when I took chemistry, the first thing I learned is how to use a Bunsen burner properly, to wear safety glasses, because when you mix chemicals there may be some spray that hits you in the eyes. So why aren’t we doing the same thing when it comes to teaching kids how to use the Internet?

Ron Teixeira, the executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, discusses cyber-safety issues related to schools.

Click play to listen to the interview with Ron Teixeira conducted by Jeanne McCann.

DD: What are the real threats to students? Many schools restrict Internet access, which affects teachers and students. Are they overreacting?

Teixeira: So you have children who learn how to use the Internet in a school where everything is filtered, which is a safe place to use a computer, but you’re not providing them the tools when they come home and do their homework. We don’t know what type of filtering systems or parental controls they have at home, so we have to assume that we need to provide these children with the tools and knowledge to protect themselves.

DD: So would you say that filters at school are not the way to go?

Teixeira: No. Each locality needs to figure out what works best for them. What I’m saying is that just because you filter things in school doesn’t mean that you don’t need to teach kids how to stay safe and secure on the Internet. The University of Michigan does a report every year about what parents think the top threats are to children . And for the first time this year, Internet safety has cracked the top ten, above drugs in schools and violence in schools.

DD: Virginia is one of the only states that mandate that online safety be incorporated into the K-12 curriculum. Correct?

Teixeira: That’s correct. What Virginia did through their acceptable-use policy is to require all schools to teach an Internet-safety curriculum. The key was they didn’t insert themselves in the locality in telling them how to carry this out. We think that localities need to be given the flexibility to decide what is taught, but there needs to be something taught, and I think that’s what Virginia did.

DD: What’s your message to ed-tech coordinators about cyber safety?

Teixeira: As far as protecting their own systems, they do need to have some level of control in terms of what programs are run on different computers, to make sure that children don’t download things that they shouldn’t or go to sites that they shouldn’t. But again, all of this is important for the schools’ security, and to protect kids while they are in the school, but what do you do once those school doors close and the bell rings? I think we need innovative ways to teach this stuff. There are organizations that provide games to teach it. You put a child in a game scenario and you’re showing them exactly what it may look like, and you’re helping them recognize a pattern that may occur and teaching them how to avoid that situation.

DD: Any last words?

Teixeira: Again, it’s not necessarily about just what happens in the school. There is an expectation that schools are teaching children how to stay safe on the Internet, and that goes beyond just knowing how to avoid cyber predators. It’s also how to secure their information and secure their computer, as well as how they treat others online. Schools are not the only ones to take on this burden, but they play an important role just like parents.

Related Tags:


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Professional Development Webinar
Leveraging Student Voice for Teacher Retention & Development
Join our webinar on using student feedback to improve teacher performance, retention & student achievement.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

IT Infrastructure & Management One Solution to Maintaining 1-to-1 Devices? Pay Students to Repair Them
Hiring students to help with the repair process is one way school districts are ensuring the sustainability of their 1-to-1 programs.
4 min read
Sawyer Wendt, a student intern for the Altoona school district’s IT department, repairs a Chromebook.
Sawyer Wendt, who's been a student intern for the Altoona district's tech department since junior year, is now studying IT software development in college.
Courtesy of Jevin Stangel, IT technician for the Altoona school district
IT Infrastructure & Management Schools Get Relief on Chromebook Replacements. Google Extends Device Support to 10 Years
Schools have typically had to replace Chromebooks every three to five years.
4 min read
Photo of teacher working with student on laptop computer.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
IT Infrastructure & Management What We Know About District Tech Leaders, in Charts
Male chief technology officers in K-12 tend to come from technological backgrounds while most female tech leaders are former teachers.
1 min read
Illustration concept of leadership, using wooden cut-out figures and arrows.
Liz Yap/Education Week via Canva
IT Infrastructure & Management How Schools Can Avoid Wasting Money on Technology
A district leader shares ways to ensure ed-tech tools are worth the investment.
2 min read
Illustration of laptop with checklist on the screen
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty