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Internet Safety Awareness Campaign - Cyber Sue Program

Broward County Library

Innovation Leader: Gina Moon, Youth Services Coordinator, gmoon@browardlibrary.org

Problem Statement

The Internet offers a world of opportunities for people: texting, sharing photos and videos, building online profiles, chatting and more. In the anonymous online world, people (especially children) may forget that there are consequences to their actions. Using the Internet may also expose people to bullies, predators, hackers, scammers and other unsavory characters. Online safety awareness and education, for all ages, is imperative now more than ever. In keeping with Broward County Library’s mission to provide information and education, Internet safety, especially for children, is a Library priority.

Innovation

In order to address the lack of age appropriate Internet education materials for young users, Broward County Library developed and launched its first Internet Safety Awareness Campaign in summer 2010. The campaign included informative posters and flyers located at each of the 37 branches, safety tips posted to the BCL website, and an Internet safety contest that offered a mini laptop as the grand prize. To address the trend of younger children using the web, the Library worked with local children’s entertainer, Suzy Hammer, to create the “Cyber Sue” character as well as an interactive computer safety program, complete with puppets, to provide a fun and memorable learning experience for children ages 5 to 8. These free programs were offered at various locations throughout the summer and fall.

Progress

Since summer 2010, 9 Cyber Sue programs have been presented for more than 386 children. Thanks to the support of the Broward Public Library Foundation, the Tom Kershaw Memorial Fund and local Friends of the Library chapters, 3 additional programs have been scheduled for May 2011 and 7 more in June and July. Through the Library’s ongoing partnership with Broward County Public Schools, over 500 children will be attending the Cyber Sue programs happening in May and learn how to protect their information and themselves from online predators, Internet thieves and cyber bullies.