Girlguiding members are being offered the chance to collect badges with a distinctly 21st century twist – by completing activities in cyber skills.
Girlguiding South West England and the National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ, have teamed up to create a new badge for Girl Guides to increase their understanding of computers and the internet.
The resource, called ‘On the net’, includes a range of activities for girls to complete within their units after which the badges can be collected. It is staged with levels to cover all ages within Guiding, from Rainbows all the way up to Rangers. The aim of the activity pack is designed to increase awareness among young women of the need to stay safe online.
In GCHQ’s centenary year, the resource incorporates aspects of the NCSC’s successful CyberFirst initiative, which has seen more than 24,000 young women engage in cyber security challenges. The new partnership is part of the ongoing efforts to engage a younger audience in cyber security and the STEM subjects and increase awareness among women.
Whether it be mobile phones, tablets or computers people are online at a younger age, using connected devices on a daily basis, and the pack will help participants understand how the internet works and how devices interact with one another.
Importantly, the badges can be collected without the requirement of computers or an internet connection and can be completed wherever Girlguiding groups meet. This was a particularly important element to Girlguiding South West Chief Commissioner, Carole Pennington. She said: “Because many of our units meet in locations with no internet or computer access, the activities are not reliant on their use and can be enjoyed by everyone wherever they meet. I am sure that this resource and the related badges will prove to be popular throughout the Region. Awareness of cyber security is vital for all our members, and the activities in the resource have been designed to provide fun ways of learning about computer systems and cyber security.”
Jeremy Fleming, Director of GCHQ, said: “I’m delighted that GCHQ and the NCSC have this opportunity to support Girlguiding South West England in learning about the exciting world of Cyber. As we look to the future, the world is becoming increasingly digital. Protecting the UK’s digital homeland is as critical as our intelligence mission. I hope some of the girls who complete these new Girlguiding Cyber activities will be inspired to become part of the next generation of experts our country needs to face the challenge of the next 100 years.”