Do your children know what information they should or shouldn't show on social media or video games? Kids are online more than ever before, but do they know how to use the Internet safely and protect their privacy? In today's digital age, cybersecurity skills are increasingly crucial, and introducing children to this field early on can provide them with invaluable knowledge and opportunities. So today we'll take a look at some of the best cybersecurity bootcamps for kids and teens. Give your child a head start in this ever-evolving field by enrolling them in a live online cybersecurity bootcamp and watch them thrive as digital defenders of the future.
Discover Cybersecurity Bootcamps for Teens and Kids
In a cybersecurity bootcamp for kids, your student will receive expert guidance from experienced instructors who specialize in cybersecurity and are adept at teaching complex concepts in a manner that is engaging and accessible to young learners. By participating in hands-on activities and real-world simulations, children will develop essential skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking. Moreover, a cybersecurity bootcamp promotes digital literacy, cyber safety, and responsible online behavior, equipping kids with the tools to navigate the digital landscape securely. Here are a few options for teens and kids.
1. Smart and Safe on the Internet presented by Create & Learn
When students join this award-winning online introductory bootcamp (grades 2-5) with a curriculum designed by experts from Google, Stanford, and MIT, they'll explore a wide range of topics related to computer security, modern computers, and the Internet, guided live by an expert instructor.
This unparalleled bootcamp is packed with exciting real-world applications, delivered through a combination of project and inquiry-based learning. Students will enjoy fun videos, games, and security tools, as well as building projects of our own. The bootcamp is comprised of 8 55-minute sessions, and can be completed in just 8 days! Students even earn a certificate upon completion.
Students will find out how passwords work and why some are much better than others. They will build a simple project to demonstrate how fast it is to crack a simple password. And they'll learn how viruses work, and why it is important not to download and click on information from the Internet. Be a detective to see if you can see patterns!
Plus, kids will discover what information to share and not to share on the Internet, and for what reasons. Before learning how to watch out for signs, and how data is used. They'll even develop a better understanding of how the Internet works. Why can we talk to someone far away over the Internet? Find out! And see how to use a packet sniffer to actually see packets going in and out of your own computer.
Do you know that everything in the computer and on the Internet ends to be 0s and 1s. Yes, that's it! We will start with learning how these two numbers form the foundation of everything we see and experience on computers. We will learn more about Internet and how information gets delivered, and what kind of security implications there might be. And finally, students will learn how to keep things secure through encryption and build a fun Scratch project that generates Morse code.
What are the admission requirements? Students should be in grades 2-5 or have equivalent prior online learning experience. Parents can sign students up anytime by picking the schedule of their choice on our website here. In terms of necessary prerequisites, it's recommended students first take Scratch coding lessons, as there are a number of fun Scratch projects incorporated throughout the camp. Your student can join the Scratch Ninja bootcamp to get started, during which they'll learn core coding concepts and find out how to make games and animations.
What is the duration and schedule of the bootcamp? This camp consist of 8 55-minute live online sessions, and can be taken as 8 days within 2 weeks, or once a week over 8 weeks.
What is the student-to-instructor ratio? The student to teacher ratio is a max of 5:1, so your student will enjoy personalized attention and feedback. Plus be able to get all their questions answers.
What support services are provided? Students and parents can email teachers, interact with their class home room online, and easily reschedule sessions within their account if something comes up. One-on-one tutoring is also available as well as a complete computer science curriculum with 35+ subjects in terms of post-bootcamp support offered to help your child transition into the cybersecurity field.
Who are the instructors? All of our teachers not only go through a rigorous interview process, extensive training, and graduate from premier institutions including Harvard, MIT, and more, but also need to maintain strong teaching records in order to continue teaching. All of our teachers as US-based and have at least three years of teaching experience.
Is the bootcamp reputable and accredited? Our camps have been recognized by reputable institutions including SMASH, Meta, and Minecraft Education, in addition to being voted parents' favorites for ActivityHero and HulaFrog.
What are the costs and payment options? This bootcamp can be purchased for a flat rate fee. Or you can take half of the bootcamp, and complete the other half later.
2. The US Cyber Challenge (USSC)
US Cyber Challenge is a program previously supported by the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate through a contract with the Center for Internet Safety, a 501x(3) organization. USCC serves as the premier program to identify, attract, train, recruit, and place the next generation of cybersecurity professionals into the workforce.
USCC Cyber Camps feature one week of specialized cybersecurity training that includes workshops, a job fair, and a culminating “Capture the Flag” competition. The workshops are lead by college faculty, top SANS Institute instructors, and cybersecurity experts from the community. The workshops and presentations focus on a variety of topics ranging from intrusion detection, penetration testing and forensics. Participants can also participate in a job fair that provides them the opportunity to meet with USCC sponsors and discuss potential employment. The weeklong program ends with a competitive “Capture the Flag” competition and an awards ceremony attended by notables in the cybersecurity industry and government.
What are the admission requirements? Prospective participants must compete in the qualifying Cyber Quests online competition that occurs in Spring and Fall. Top performers are then extended invites to attend a USCC Camp. Camp participation is only offered to United States citizens. Camp spaces are limited, competitive and by invitation only, so sign up for the Cyber Quests competition to test your cyber skills and advance your journey toward becoming a “Cyber Security Defender!”
What is the duration and schedule of the bootcamp? Eastern Region June 5th-9th, 2023 and Western Region July 17th-21st, 2023.
What are the costs and payment options? This bootcamp can be purchased for a flat rate fee, ranging from $200-$650.
3. AFA CyberCamps
AFA CyberCamps are designed for high school and middle school students who are just getting into cybersecurity or who have cybersecurity knowledge and want to learn more. The CyberCamps program was launched by the Air Force Association in 2014.
In this engaging bootcamp, students receive comprehensive instruction on securing computer operating systems, encompassing both Windows OS and Linux OS. They gain a deep understanding of security features and functions, alongside practical experience with terminal and command prompt commands. The course covers essential topics such as explaining security settings, including password policies, and showcases effective techniques for system updates and enhancing security measures. There's even a fun challenge on the last day: students will compete against their fellow campers on Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18 competition images.
Students interested in attending a Standard or Advanced Camp can email AFACyberCamps@uscyberpatriot.org to be notified once camp locations and dates are posted online. This email notification from the CyberPatriot office is sent the first week of May reports BostonTechMom.
What are the admission requirements? The AFA CyberCamp curriculum and activities are largely computer based. To maximize student engagement, the host organization should meet the following technical specifications:
- One computer for every 2-3 campers (at a minimum)All computers, including the presentation computer, must have internet access and must be capable of running VMWare Workstation Player, WinMD5, and 7-Zip.
- PCs are preferred. Chromebooks and iPads are not compatible with CyberCamp software. Mac computers are acceptable but will not be eligible for technical assistance from the CyberPatriot Program Office. If you believe you will be using Mac computers for your camp, please contact us directly so that we may assist with proper pre-testing before your camp.
- A projector and presentation computer with Microsoft PowerPoint.
What is the duration and schedule of the bootcamp? All camps are packaged as 5-day, 20-hour sessions (20 hours of material taught over five days) and must be conducted Monday through Friday during one of the available camp weeks.
What are the costs and payment options? CyberCamps are hosted at hundreds of camps, both in person and virtually, across the nation. The cost per student is dependent on the organization that is hosting a camp.
How to Pick a Cybersecurity Bootcamp
When selecting a cybersecurity bootcamp for their child, parents should carefully consider the following factors to ensure a rewarding and impactful experience:
- Curriculum and Content: Evaluate the bootcamp's curriculum to ensure it covers essential cybersecurity topics, including network security, cryptography, ethical hacking, and data privacy. Look for a program that balances theoretical knowledge with practical hands-on activities to foster skill development.
- Instructor Expertise: Consider the qualifications and experience of the instructors. Look for industry professionals or cybersecurity experts who possess a strong background in the field and have experience working with children. Experienced instructors can provide valuable insights, mentorship, and guidance throughout the bootcamp.
- Learning Format and Interactivity: Assess the learning format and delivery method. A live online bootcamp with interactive sessions allows for real-time engagement with instructors and fellow participants, fostering collaboration and active learning. Look for a program that incorporates interactive tools, virtual labs, and group activities to enhance the learning experience.
- Age Appropriateness: Consider whether the bootcamp is tailored to your child's age group. Cybersecurity concepts can be complex, so it's essential to choose a program that is designed with age-appropriate content, teaching methods, and learning materials to ensure your child's understanding and engagement.
- Support and Safety Measures: Ensure that the bootcamp has proper safety measures in place, including secure online platforms and protocols for protecting students' privacy and data. Additionally, inquire about the level of support provided, such as access to mentors or teaching assistants who can address questions or concerns that may arise during the bootcamp.
Join The Best Cybersecurity Bootcamps for Teens and Kids
By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose a cybersecurity bootcamp that provides a comprehensive and secure learning environment, fostering your child's passion for cybersecurity and setting them on a path to digital success. Explore more coding bootcamps for kids here.