Badges make today's Girl Scouts tomorrow's cybersleuths Today's Girl Scouts, tomorrow's cybersleuths. (Girl Scouts of the United States/Joybot/Flickr)
Badges make today's Girl Scouts tomorrow's cybersleuths
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How safe is your data? Probably not as safe as you think. Everything from international cyber attacks to your smart refrigerator can put personal information at risk. This includes your money and even your own safety. But there is help. The world has a new cybercrime-fighting force, the Girl Scouts. That's according to Catherine Thorbecke reporting for ABC News

In 2017, Girl Scouts of the USA announced that it developed a series of cybersecurity badges. Thorbecke reports that the badges cover everything. They cover hacking to online identity protection. They were released in fall 2018. 

The thought of scouts learning to thwart hackers and tackle cyberthreats may seem surprising. But it shouldn’t be. There are hundreds of badges a Girl Scout can currently earn. And they don’t all involve campfires and first aid. They encompass everything. There are badges for fashion and business. There are badges for social innovation and computing. 

The Girl Scouts' leadership has made a commitment to STEM education. They wanted to develop a scientific and technological discovery program that exposes girls to STEM topics every year. One such topic is cybersecurity.

The organization partnered with security company, Palo Alto Networks. Together, they developed the 18 badges. In a press release, Palo Alto Networks called the program “a huge step toward eliminating traditional barriers to industry access, such as gender and geography.” 

The program targets girls as young as five with badges. These badges require mastery of different cybersecurity topics. The hope is that today’s Girl Scouts will become the future’s industry leaders.

That's important, considering today's cyber industry has proved hard for women to crack. A report found that women report higher levels of education than men in the industry. But today, just 20 percent of cybersecurity workers are women. Women earn a lower salary in the industry and they also experience discrimination once they enter the industry.

Fifty-one percent of women surveyed said they’d experienced discrimination. They have seen everything from unexplained delays in advancement to exaggerated highlighting of their mistakes. That is compared to just 15 percent of men. Slate’s Josephine Wolff reported on the issue. She said making industry-adjacent events like hackathons more welcoming to women could help with recruitment. So could the Girl Scouts’ new program.

Encouraging girls to get involved in cyber is a win for everyone—as GSUSA’s CEO Sylvia Acevedo said in a press release. It’s all about cyber-preparedness. The cost of cybercrime is expected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021, so it’s never too early to have more cybersleuths on the case.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do you think adding STEM badges for Girls Scouts or Boy Scouts may be helpful to today's kids?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (21)
  • Will-E2
    3/11/2019 - 10:15 a.m.

    This article is about girl scouts doing cyber security.
    I like this article because I like technology and I thought it would be interesting to learn about girl scouts too. Did you know that the program targets girls as young as five with badges. I can't wait to see what happens with the program.

  • Edileh-E2
    3/11/2019 - 10:48 a.m.

    OMG I loved this article. I reminded me of the one where the one school helped to stop cyberbuling. This was interesting but not very easy to follow.

  • nathanr-orv
    3/11/2019 - 02:30 p.m.

    I think it would be a great idea and they should do it because that way they can be helpful to other people.

  • BenP-E2
    3/11/2019 - 04:29 p.m.

    This article is about girl scouts doing cyber security. I think that it is really bad that fifty-one percent of women are discriminated and only fifteen percent men are discriminated. I liked this article because I like computers and stuff like that. I also can't wait to see what happens with the program.

  • anthonyp-orv
    3/11/2019 - 08:31 p.m.

    I think the article is inspiring for girls, and can seem very interesting for people who like technology.

  • jordanw-orv1
    3/12/2019 - 11:43 a.m.

    I think that men or women it is important to learn as well as do a job you enjoy. So the younger generation learning about the web at a young age is important. Because back in the 1980 and 90s there weren't computers to play around with.

  • evaniaw-orv
    3/12/2019 - 11:58 a.m.

    I think this is a very interesting article. I recommend this article to anyone who is interested girl scouts

  • karlised-orv
    3/12/2019 - 01:08 p.m.

    I'm in girl scouts. Or as I like to call it, GS. IT's really fun, and we do a lot of cool things, like camping and...yeah all that fun stuff. I encouraged Cynthia to join. So who knows she might be in my girl scout troop soon.

  • joeyw-orv
    3/12/2019 - 02:21 p.m.

    Having a badge for Girl Scouts will help a lot of people when they get older when they do online work. Some people don't know that you can get viruses or generally anything harmful on the internet. Giving them information about these things can help a lot of people know what to look out for and how to be safer online.

  • Guadalupe C-mag
    3/12/2019 - 11:00 p.m.

    Add STEM badges can be useful, since children can access social networks very quickly, sometimes we do not know what they see or what they hear and this can help to help as safety for children. I think it's a great idea.

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