Irish Girl Guides Develop their Cyber Powers During Cyber Security Awareness Month

The Irish Girl Guides (IGG) have partnered with Bank of America to promote cyber safety, with the launch of a new Cybersecurity Badge for their Ladybird, Brownie, and Guide branches. At a time when cybercrime is costing the Irish economy c.€9.6bn per annum and over half of children have confirmed that they have been cyberbullied, the new partnership between the Irish Girl Guides and Bank of America that this year alone will benefit over 2,300 girls, age 5-17 yrs and support them in developing cybersecurity skills.

The launch of the new Cybersecurity Badge programme, created by Dublin based cyber security and technology experts is designed to promote the responsible use of technology and teach the Girl Guides how to stay safe online while also showing the girls and young women the exciting uses and opportunities within the technology industry.

Partnering with Bank of America and its highly skilled team of technology experts enabled IGG to develop a bespoke age-appropriate curriculum that encourages girls and young women to explore different aspects of technology in a responsible, fun and educational way. The women within the technology sector of Bank of America represent great models for the Girl Guides to follow as they show the girls what hard work and determination achieves. Ultimately, this partnership is an amazing opportunity that further supports IGG mission in enabling girls to discover their full potential and become responsible, savvy users of technology.

Roisin Mills, the Brownie Branch Chairperson of Irish Girl Guides, is especially enthusiastic about this partnership saying, “Working in the IT industry as I do, I feel it is really important for all to know how to stay safe online. This badge programme developed by IGG with support from Bank of America will help our girls develop knowledge about how to practice safety and precaution online in a fun and memorable way. This is only the first step in building a foundation and interest in STEM; inspiring girls to uncover their potential and introduce them to the possibility of a career in the STEM field. I cannot wait for my Brownies and Guides to complete the badge!”

It is no coincidence that the Irish Girl Guides chose the month of October in which to launch this badge. October is globally known as International Cybersecurity Awareness Month (ICSAM); a month-long public awareness campaign between governments and industry, which aims to raise public awareness about cyber security best practices, and how to stay safe online wherever you are in the world. To celebrate the launch of the badge programme coinciding with ICSAM, the Irish Girl Guides have released a very special cyber edition of their seasonal magazine, Trefoil News.

Michelle Garrigan, Cyber Threat Intelligence Lead for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Bank of America said: “Bank of America is delighted to support the development of IGG’s new Cybersecurity Badge. Educating young women and girls on cybersecurity and staying safe online has become increasingly important in today’s technology driven world, and our team of technology experts are proud to have supported the development of this new and modern badge to the Irish Girl Guides curriculum which will benefit over 2,300 members.”

The Cybersecurity Badge programme offers a unique opportunity to learn about personal security from an early age and develop good practices that will serve them well for years to come. Each badge is comprised of activities and games that teach girls and young women taking part the foundations to prevent cyber risks and the appropriate protocol when encountering them. This badge programme which supports each of the Girl Guide branches, covers important topics such as the basics of technology and the internet, password security, risks associated with information sharing, and teaches the girls how to spot online scams.

Claire Barkey, CEO of Irish Girl Guides, believes the awareness of cybersecurity is crucial for young girls and women; “Thanks to the support of Bank of America, IGG have been able to revitalise badges that support an awareness of cyber safety at a time when it is important for young girls and parents to be familiar with the opportunities and challenges online. IGG take great pride in ensuring our programme is relevant and contemporary for our members and supporting young girls to understand different aspects of the IT industry will promote opportunities in STEM moving forward. We are excited to partner with BOA and look forward to more opportunities for collaboration!”

Irish Girl Guides welcomes youth members from age five-plus and adult volunteers from age 18+. No previous Guiding experience is necessary and ongoing training and support is provided. For further information, see www.irishgirlguides.ie or Tel: 01 6683898.

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