Tampa's Muma JA BizTown is a rite of passage field trip for Hillsborough County fifth grade students. It allows kids to try out future jobs by "working" at Publix, Bank of America or even Busch Gardens. It is a bustling interconnected town.
Starting Wednesday, students will have the choice to work for ReliaQuest, a cybersecurity firm helping teach kids how to stay safe online while keeping others safe, too.
"They think they can be so free on the Internet and with their phones and devices," says Christina Roberts, BizTown's director of partnerships and development. "They need to be aware that there are potential threats. And if there is a threat, what to do."
As their classmates serve lunch at McDonalds or work retail at a Tampa Bay Lightning store, the ReliaQuest workers will make sure everyone's online activity and financial workings are safe.
Breach alarms will go off at the various storefronts and these junior cybersecurity specialists will have to solve the problem. It teaches kids the importance of online safety, not just with money but identity as well. Guard yourself and your transactions.
For ReliaQuest, which will help train kids for hours before their BizTown visit, it is also grooming potential employees for a very busy future. The world is so plugged in, there will be a shortage of some twi million cybersecurity specialists by the year 2019.