“Don’t ever leave your computer open or else crooks might steal your information.” This might sound like the advice of a seasoned IT security researcher, but it is in fact an admonition shared by Logan, a second grader and one of 15 K-12 students who were recognized Friday for winning New York’s annual Kids Safe Online Poster Contest.
The contest, which has been held annually since 2005, is led by the New York Office of Information Technology Services, which says it selected this year’s winners from 977 hand-drawn entries submitted from 100 schools around the state. The contest is designed to encourage young people to think about online safety, promoting best practices on cybersecurity, cyberbullying and the responsible use of social media.
“Educating students about cyber security allows them to make better decisions when using social media and determining what information is safe to share,” Karen Sorady, New York’s acting chief information security officer, said in a press release. “I am always impressed by the creativity and understanding of internet safety depicted in the student’s posters.”
The winning posters take on a variety of online issues, from clickbait to not sharing personal information with strangers. A winning poster drawn by Jia Yu, a tenth grader, warns: “Before it’s too late, think before you click!” A poster by Addison, grade 5, features a man with devious eyebrows asking an apparently frightened boy: “I just met you but can I have your number?” A poster by Eliza, grade 8, displays a girl in a sailboat surrounded by the words: “The Internet can be very dangerous and hurtful. Learn how to navigate safely.”
The contest, open to K-12 students in New York, is held in conjunction with a national contest led by the Center for Internet Security’s Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. Winning artwork will be featured in a 2021 calendar published by the state government.