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The Impact of Cyber Safety, Research Paper Example

Pages: 7

Words: 2038

Research Paper

The Impact of Cyber Safety on Educational Outcomes of Secondary School Students

Introduction

Rationale

The internet enables students to access information anytime, anywhere, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For schools, this access is considered in terms of access to learning resources, facilitates distance learning, and enables collaboration between students and classes in various locations. Nonetheless, despite the numerous benefits that the internet brings to the students, it also comes at a cost, including creating new threats to students. Cyberbullying, gambling, pornography, racial abuse, and fraud have increased among students due to a lack of self-protection mechanisms and awareness (Rahman et al., 2020). Student internet workers cannot protect themselves from such acts, putting them in a risky situation. Therefore, one of the central undertakings that authorities ought to consider is to examine the level of awareness possessed by student internet users. Furthermore, the young users need special education on how they can protect themselves against cyber-security issues. Most importantly, the actual impacts of cyber-security among students must be revealed, and measures to ensure cyber safety be recommended as this study aims to achieve.

Background

The recent news articles reveal that students are indeed in great danger of threats associated with cyber security. For instance, it was reported that cases of cyber-bullying had increased among schools in New York City (Vicks, 2013). Additionally, a man was arrested for allegedly exposing sexually explicit pictures of minors. Such incidents have been associated with adverse outcomes such as health complications, including depression and anxiety, and can also lead to negative academic achievements. However, federal law has provided some protection for students who use the internet. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is one of how the law that protects students using the internet (Vicks, 2013). The main objective of this act is to protect students from harmful or obscene acts on the internet. In addition, libraries and schools eligible to receive a discount for telecommunication and internet connections or internet access through E-rate Programs must certify safety measures to protect students from harmful impacts from the internet.

Between July and August 2020, Microsoft’s Global Threat Activity Tracker detected over 8 million incidents of malware (Corradini & Nardelli, 2020). Among these, education was the most widely affected sector. The education sector has become vulnerable to increased cyberattacks due to the rush to implement e-learning in the recent past. Criminals have found new opportunities to extort money through ransomware schemes, steal sensitive information, and defraud schools. The Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI (IC3) announced that attackers are increasingly taking advantage of the shift to e-learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The attackers were reported to target virtual environments, especially those used by schools. According to Amankwa (2021), the internet provides numerous opportunities for both educators and learners. Therefore, it is imperative to increase security to counter the new and emerging threats of attack

Significance

The internet is crucial in enhancing people’s lives through enhanced interaction, communication, and communication exchange. However, despite its numerous positive impacts, the internet has also proven costly due to security issues. There have been much fraud, cyber-bullying, pornography, gambling, and racial abuse (Amankwa, 2021). The cases have been on the rise in the last few years due to students’ lack of self-protection mechanisms and awareness of such issues. Therefore, based on the vast potential of the internet and its role in enhancing education among students, students must be made aware of the threats of using the internet. Such awareness will guarantee them the ability to ensure that they are protected from the threat of cyber security. According to Venter et al. (2019), people must also understand how to secure their devices against cyberattacks. To achieve this, a high level of education and awareness is necessary. Therefore, this study is essential to diffuse information about the threats of cyberattacks against students, which contributes toward awareness creation and enhanced security measures.

Research Questions

  1. What is the impact of cyber safety on the educational outcomes of secondary school students?
  2. How can cyber safety be enhanced for secondary school students to improve educational outcomes?

Literature Review

Cyber Safety Concerns

According to Sanmartin et al. (2021), cyber safety is a term that refers to the safe and responsible utilization of information and communication technologies (ICT). Today, the internet is widely used in secondary schools to facilitate distance learning and access educational resources. Students also utilize the internet to enhance collaboration among them and between classes. Nikolopoulou (2019) stated that facilitating distance learning was crucial during the pandemic when most communication and learning activities had to be conducted online. Although numerous benefits mark the internet, it also has several negative attributes that students should be aware of to ensure effective utilization to meet the objectives (Al-Abdullatif & Gameil, 2020). Social media has been used on numerous occasions to extort sexually explicit pictures posing a great danger to the educational outcomes of students. Incidents of cyberbullying have also soared due to increased use of the internet. All these threats are often associated with anxiety and depression, and in extreme cases, they may lead to suicide, health complications, and decreased academic performance (Madigal et al., 2018). Therefore, students need to be sensitized about such threats to protect themselves from attacks.

Simola (2019) mentions that the internet is crucial in education as it provides a suitable atmosphere for learning accessible from external interference. Therefore, this seems to imply that students and learning institutions operate in an environment free from attackers. However, this is not the truth, as the educational sector has been characterized by numerous attacks from cyber attackers in the recent past. Learners who use the internet are impacted in various ways. Cyberbullying is one of the most profound impacts that learners have faced due to the use of the internet (Sarker et al., 2020). In addition, Cyberbullying is often associated with issues of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Paquet-Clouston et al. (2019) reiterate that ransomware problems have also increased lately among student users of the internet. Another threat that has gained momentum is sexting, characterized by receiving sexually explicit and nude images through texts.

Current Findings on Cyber Security

According to Zeebaree et al. (2020), current research has emphasized the need for cyber safety protection but has failed to reveal the extent of threats emanating from cyberattack threats. Studies ought to dwell on the frequency, duration of abuse, and the anatomy of the perpetrators. Such issues form the fundamental themes that have been of concern among researchers in cyber security. High levels of technology have increased transactions through the internet. Current research has confirmed the existence of processes linked majorly to the increased absorption of the internet. As such, Liu et al. (2021) state that educators should also emphasize the need for security education as part of ICT education. According to Hashim et al. (2018), for any ICT implementation to be considered effectively implemented in schools, the students ought to be fully aware of the threats associated with using the internet.

Methodology

The study will take the form of a survey in which three secondary schools within the school district will be surveyed. The reason for selecting this research approach is that it enables the collection of huge amounts of data that can be analyzed, and the results will represent the situation in the entire population. Both qualitative and quantitative data will be collected for analysis. Interview schedules will be used to collect qualitative data, which will also be gathered through a literature review. Teachers and students will be interviewed to find their opinion on the impacts of cyber safety on educational outcomes. Quantitative data, on the other hand, will be collected using online questionnaires administered online to students and teachers. The study will also use data on students’ performance from the school administration to examine the performance trends before and after adopting technology by the three sampled schools. Qualitative data will be analyzed using the three iterative identification, examination, and categorization steps. Quantitative data will be analyzed using various techniques, including calculating vital statistics such as mean and standard deviation. Other techniques used to analyze quantitative data include t-test analysis and regression analysis.

Research Ethics

Cybersafety issues are quite sensitive and need to be handled with care. However, there is a need to reiterate students’ participation in this study since the results directly affect them. Parents will be notified of the research intention to ensure that they do not negatively perceive the study’s intention. Since this research involves underage participants, the researcher will ensure that their personal information is safeguarded. The idea of data protection will also apply to all the other participants. The researcher will also strive to obtain the consent of the teachers, students, and school administrators before obtaining performance information from students. Consent will also extend to the request to participate in the study through interviews and questionnaires. The education department will be informed about the impending research and its importance. The personal data used in the study will be destroyed soon after completing the research.

Action

The first activity that will be undertaken during the research process will be to collect preliminary data and information to gain an insight into the topic. In other words, before embarking on the actual research, and information search will be conducted to identify the available data sources and knowledge about the topic. After that, a literature review will be conducted to provide background information. After the literature review, the researcher will embark on contacting potential participants and seeking consent before commencing data collection. The data collection process will follow where questionnaires and interview schedules will be employed. The collected data will then be analyzed using qualitative and quantitative techniques. The last part of the research process will involve the communication of the results to the relevant stakeholders.

References

Al-Abdullatif, A., & Gameil, A. (2020). Exploring students’ knowledge and practice of digital citizenship in higher education. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET)15(19), 122-142.

Amankwa, E. (2021). Relevance of Cybersecurity Education at Pedagogy Levels in Schools. Journal of Information Security12(4), 233-249.

Corradini, I., & Nardelli, E. (2020). Developing digital awareness at school: a fundamental step for cybersecurity education. In International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (pp. 102-110). Springer, Cham.

Hashim, N. A., Abidin, Z. Z., Zakaria, N. A., Ahmad, R., & Puvanasvaran, A. P. (2018). Risk assessment method for insider threats in cyber security: A review. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications9(11).

Liu, B., Ding, M., Shaham, S., Rahayu, W., Farokhi, F., & Lin, Z. (2021). When machine learning meets privacy: A survey and outlook. ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR)54(2), 1-36.

Madigan, S., Villani, V., Azzopardi, C., Laut, D., Smith, T., Temple, J. R. & Dimitropoulos, G. (2018). The prevalence of unwanted online sexual exposure and solicitation among youth: A meta-analysis. Journal of Adolescent Health63(2), 133-141.

Nikolopoulou, A. (2019). The Directive on security of networks and information systems (NIS Directive) from a practical view.

Paquet-Clouston, M., Haslhofer, B., & Dupont, B. (2019). Ransomware payments in the bitcoin ecosystem. Journal of Cybersecurity5(1), tyz003.

Rahman, N., Sairi, I. H., Zizi, N. A. M., & Khalid, F. (2020). The importance of cybersecurity education in school. International Journal of Information and Education Technology10(5), 378-382.

Sanmartín Feijóo, S., Foody, M., O’Higgins-Norman, J., Pichel Mira, R., & Rial Boubeta, A. (2021). Cyberbullies, the cyberbullied, and problematic internet use: Some reasonable similarities.

Sarker, I. H., Abushark, Y. B., Alsolami, F., & Khan, A. I. (2020). Intrudtree: a machine learning based cyber security intrusion detection model. Symmetry12(5), 754.

Simola, J. (2019). Comparative research of cybersecurity information sharing models. Information & Security43(2), 175-195.

Venter, I. M., Blignaut, R. J., Renaud, K., & Venter, M. A. (2019). Cyber security education is as essential as “the three R’s”. Heliyon5(12), e02855.

Vicks, M. E. (2013). An Examination of Internet Filtering and Safety Policy Trends and Issues in South Carolina’s K–12 Public Schools (Doctoral dissertation, Nova Southeastern University).

Zeebaree, S., Ameen, S., & Sadeeq, M. (2020). Social media networks security threats, risks and recommendation: A case study in the kurdistan region. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change13, 349-365.

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