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Cyber month schools initiative

Cyber month schools initiative

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Philip Whitmore - KPMG NZ - Partner

Partner - Cyber Security

KPMG in New Zealand

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Cyber schools initiative

Educating a connected world:

KPMG promotes cyber literacy training in schools for 127,000 young people in 51 countries

KPMG New Zealand hosted its third annual KPMG Cyber Day initiative in schools in Auckland and Wellington, joining other KPMG firms from around the world during International Cyber Security Awareness Month.

For the third year running, KPMG International held its annual Global Cyber Day across 51 countries around the world. This community initiative, led by KPMG cyber security professionals, is aimed at educating young people about the importance of cyber security and Internet risk, as part of the firm's commitment to supporting the communities in which it operates. The classroom sessions ran throughout October as part of the globally-recognised International Cyber Security Awareness Month and included guidance on safe use of personal data, social media, cyber bullying, online gaming and smartphones.

KPMG New Zealand visited six schools as part of Cyber Security Awareness Month: Epsom Normal Primary School, Northcote Primary School and Carmel College in Auckland; and Kelson Primary School, Taita College and Crofton Down School in Wellington.

"The students thoroughly enjoyed the session,” said Dillon Rungan, Deputy Principal at Epsom Normal Primary School. “They found it informative and helpful as they venture through the infinite web, and are looking forward to KPMG coming back to Epsom Normal Primary School.”

One student reflected on the value of the session, saying “It really made me think about being safe on the Internet especially that I play games online with other people.”

“Given the importance of keeping youth safe online, it was great to be involved again in this global initiative,” said Philip Whitmore, Head of KPMG New Zealand’s Cyber Security Services practice. “Some schools have also reached out to us to run similar sessions for parents too, which we’re more than happy to do. I think many parents find it overwhelming given that it’s often not something they’re use to.”

A global perspective

“Cyber security may not be child's play, but participants in our Global Cyber Day programme had the chance to play and learn how to stay safe online,” said Akhilesh Tuteja, who Co-Leads KPMG's Global Cyber Security practice, along with Tony Buffomante. “We know from our recent CEO Outlook study that cyber security has been a business-critical issue for clients for the past few years. It's also a more pressing and high-profile societal concern than it ever has been before, particularly for young people who are often the most vulnerable to cyber-attacks.”  

Cyber security is a growing problem, not just for organisations, but also for the children. According to a recent report by the Children's Society in the UK nearly half (44 percent) of young people spend more than three hours per day on social media, and almost 1 in 10 (9 percent) use social media between midnight and 6am. Alarmingly, the same study found that young people who are currently experiencing mental health problems are more than three times likely to have been bullied online in the last year. This was exacerbated for girls, with 46 percent stating that social media has had a negative impact on their self-esteem.

“Young people need a safety net to help keep bullies at bay,” added Tuteja. “The reality is that young people are spending more time online and bullies have moved from the corner of the playground to all corners of the Internet.”

Given the tremendous success of KPMG's previous Global Cyber Days, the initiative was in 2019 to cover any day in October so that more member firms around the world could participate, increasing the number of lessons conducted and young people reached.

“Global Cyber Day supports KPMG's corporate citizenship focus on Quality Education and Lifelong Learning, and the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals to promote and support safe, effective learning environments,” said Serena Brown, Director of Global Corporate Citizenship, KPMG. “Arming young people with knowledge on how they can stay safe online, and make the right choices in this digitally-enabled world, is paramount to helping make our local communities a safer place.”

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