The Girl Scouts USA has a new patch that’s a sign of the times – for cybersecurity.
Young girls will be able to play a custom-made game to learn about privacy, online identities, security, and cyberbullying.
It’s part of thirty STEM-related badges rolled out last year.
Local 4′s James Sears caught up with a local troop where several girls have earned the new patch – all without touching a computer.
Troop 1673 leader Maria Hamann uses games to teach her 7-year-old girls the age-appropriate lessons of cybersecurity.
“It really broke it down in simple terms what identity means, and how somebody can change their identity on the computer,“ says Hamann. “So that was good to learn even at this young age.“
There are now three cybersecurity badges – basics, safeguard, and investigator – and three activities to earn them.
The girls learn about the parts of the computer by making faces and motions.
Who they can trust in their neighborhood by running to different colored mats on the floor.
And to show how identity can change online, they play dress-up.
“It’s fun for them to come in and see a box of clothes and pretend to be somebody else,“ says Hamann. “But then when they sit down, and we talk about serious side of it. Okay, you changed yourself into somebody else, anybody can do that on the screen.“
Serious lessons, for when the girls are ready to get on the computer.
“Never go by somebody you don’t know and don’t trust,“ says Makayla MIller of Troop 1673.
“They could do something bad like get into your game,“ says Myra Hamann.
“And they can send bad messages to you,“ says Sloan Varner.
Teaching lessons from the past, while incorporating the present.
“Back in 1912, it’s get outdoors, be risk takers, try new things, I think that still holds true today,“ says Hamann. “I think the more we add stem badges and stem requirements, the girls thrive in that, and they can learn to be leaders in those fields.“
Hamann sees more stem and coding in the girl scouts’ future, as they work to fill-in the gender gap roles.
To learn more about the girl scouts, click here.