Local Girl Scouts and leaders are excited about the organization’s new cybersecurity badges even though they won’t be available for another year.
There is a lesson behind every Girl Scout badge. The newest one: cybersecurity.
The topic resonates with 14-year-old Emily Stockie. She says she was almost a victim of an online predator.
“Normally when I am bored I go on some sites and one time I went on Omegle or Emerald Chat and it got too weird for me,” said Stockie.
She says she thought she was chatting online with a friend until the conversation became uncomfortable. She deleted her apps and immediately confided in her mother of what happened.
“Well it got to a certain point and the sender decided to tell her, “Don’t tell your parents. Don’t tell your friends. Don’t tell anybody about me. I know how to find them if you do.” said Stockie’s mother, Marie Stockie-Vannorstrand.
It’s stories like this that inspired the Girl Scouts to create 18 badges introducing cybersecurity education.
“How do you keep your self safe? But then also how do I get the opportunity to do other things online, like encryption and coding and all of the other things that are important if you want to pursue a cybersecurity career,” said Judy Cranston, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Western New York.
For Emily’s sisters, by earning this new set of badges they will be apart of the growing population of women pursuing STEM careers.
“There’s web page design,” said 17-year-old Arika Stockie. “Kids learn how to design their own web page and learn how to put up.”
“We are always trying to do something new for like technology nowadays,” said 14-year-old Kayla Vannorstrand. “We are going to have all these things and then we are not going to be able to do anything.”
In our tech driven world, these cyber security badges are meant to give young women the skills to tap into the cyber realm while protecting themselves.
In addition to cybersecurity badges, NASA and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute will also collaborate on new badges.
The 18 cybersecurity badges will be available starting in September 2018.