Shanghai has launched a pilot program to protect the growing number of young netizens from cyberfraud and internet addiction.
The program, initiated by the Shanghai Information Security Trade Association, invites network security professionals to train teachers from more than 20 primary and middle schools across the city how to teach courses on cybersecurity.
It also offers a brochure and an online platform where parents and students can access guidelines and information on cases.
Through teachers and parents, the program aims to educate young netizens－among the most active users of online games, open Wi-Fi and social networking－who are the most vulnerable to cyberfraud and internet addiction.
According to the latest report by the China Internet Network Information Center, at the end of 2015 as many as 287 million netizens in China were under 25 years old, with 134 million under 18.
Of the reported victims of internet fraud, the youngest was 11 years old.
Since 2011, the trade association has been keen on internet security education among young students. It first came up with an education manual on cybersecurity, which was recently updated, and an online platform with more interactive features such as quizzes, cartoons and videos.
Last year, the association began inviting cybersecurity experts to give lectures in schools, a move that proved successful, according to Chen Ling, who is in charge of the program.
The program will be expanded this year to engage more teachers and parents, who play a key role in protecting children, Chen added.
“It has proved quite popular,” she said.
Included in each course is a quiz on cybersecurity for students.
“Most of the students scored very high,” Chen said. “That demonstrates that the classes are really effective and that students have learned a lot.”
The association is also cooperating with internet companies in China, Chen said.
Yuan Bo, the mother of a 6-year-old boy, applauded the program, which she said helps deal with her worries about children’s poor self-control of the joy and curiosity brought by online entertainment.
“Children are too young to distinguish right from wrong, so these classes provide a guideline,” she said.