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Students are smarter than their school’s cybersecurity

Cybersecurity may be a top priority for schools, but Canadian high school students are finding ways around those efforts, according to the Back to School survey from McAfee.

Nearly a quarter of students surveyed have successfully tried to get around the cyber restrictions put in place by school to get access to banned content. 63 per cent of students were also able to access all, or some, social media sites on school-owned connected devices despite those restrictions. YouTube is the most popular site students would bypass security for, followed by Facebook or Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, and then Snapchat.

This isn’t due to lack of trying by schools across Canada. 78 per cent of students have been provided with some sort of cybersecurity education or guidelines before getting access to school-owned devices, with 34 per cent getting repeated reminders of said guidelines throughout the year. 32 per cent only received those instructions the first time, with 12 per cent saying that a teacher tried to go over those guidelines but the students knew more than the teacher.

Almost a quarter of students did not receive any cybersecurity education or guidelines.

The situation isn’t too different at home, with only about one third of parents regularly talking with their high school age children about cybersecurity. 13 per cent of 16 to 18 year olds have never had this type of talk with their parents.

Considering the vast majority of high school students spend at least one hour per day using internet connected devices at school, schools – and parents – should keep cybersecurity in mind. Especially as students born in the digital age become even more adept at using technology.

Other highlights from the report include:

McAfee surveyed 500 Canadian high school students between June 28 and July 5 this year for the Back to School survey.