Youngsters study cyber security

Up to 40 middle-school students will become savvy Internet users by attending a cyber security camp at OCCC the week of July 13.

The OCCC Information Technology department will teach the fifth through eighth graders the importance of being safe on the web, said Al Heitkamper, professor of cyber security.

“What I’m excited about,” Heitkamper said, “is having them understand how important security is on the computer.”

Anything from social networking to playing games deals with cyber security, Heitkamper said.

“They are often the targets of people who are trying to take advantage of identity theft,” Heitkamper explained. He stressed the importance of cyber education, mainly for the safety of the children.

“This has become the sex-ed of the 21st century,” Heitkamper said.

Mike Reeves, a supervisor within the IT department at OCCC, teaches cyber art during the camp. He said that his favorite part is getting the campers to understand that they need safety when they are online.

Another of the camp’s main goals is to stress the harm of cyber bullying.

“We don’t want to bully, we don’t want to be mean to others,” Reeves said.

The camp also will be hosting an FBI agent who will talk to the campers about the importance of recognizing cyber bullying and taking action against it.

“These kids are at a certain age where they get bullied, quite a bit,” Heitkamper said. “It’s a good opportunity for them to understand what they should do about cyber bullying.”

Reeves also does an activity with campers where they each get to create a poster reflecting upon what kind of cyber security is closest to them.

The kids will also get to take part in playing different online games. Even though the games are geared to also teach them the importance of being safe on the web, “they really like to play games,” Heitkamper said.

In addition the students will learn how to create their own apps this year on Macintosh computers.

Heitkamper hopes that by educating these youngsters, they can in turn help their parents be more safe and secure online.

In addition Heitkamper hopes that his campers will understand by the end of the week that someone is monitoring anything and everything they put out on the Internet and that once it is out there it cannot be taken back.

The camp is offered every year as part of the College for Kids program at OCCC. The individual course costs $39 and is held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The cyber security camp is also a recruitment tool for the program.

For more information, contact heitkamper at or by phone at 405-682-1611 ext. 7494.

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