Bjorn Beam is the creator of Security Squad, an educational game program designed to teach children valuable lessons about cybersecurity and online safety. Bjorn is a veteran of the intelligence community and has worked alongside both the CIA and FBI in the past, giving him an excellent understanding of current and future cybersecurity threats.
Bjorn was nice enough to answer some of our questions.
How does Security Squad teach kids to be safe online?
Through video games designed to teach them lessons about cybersecurity. Our ‘choose your own adventure’ game Security Squad Adventures has no wrong answers and instead show children what the consequences of their choices online can be.
How do kids develop skills they can use in cybersecurity and other industries?
Children learn how to identify common threats and what obvious spam/unscrupulous actors look like. This gives them a great starting point to advance their interest in a possible career.
In what way are the games designed to provide positive reinforcement and minimise negative reinforcement?
As mentioned, there are no ‘wrong’ answers in the games and no messages that flash on the screen telling the child they made a mistake – instead, we show them the potential consequences of each decision. This means they choose an answer they prefer the result of, rather than because the world said it is correct. They then learn what their choice really means in practice following a Kant philosophic approach.
What’s your personal favourite game in the program?
Security Squad Adventures is our main game and definitely my favourite because it really makes children feel like they are on an adventure and not necessarily a structured learning experience. I believe the release of this game in the near future will show the same excitement I have for it. When kids are having fun effortlessly, they learn and retain the lessons at a much higher rate.
How does your intelligence/security background inform how you designed Security Squad?
Having worked in the Intelligence Community for more than 8 years, I had seen firsthand how dangerous a lack of cybersecurity can be. This goes beyond nation-states, and companies’ security practices and protocols, but down to the individual level of how we handle our digital security, and the digital security of our loved ones. I think it is important for the next generation to be equipped with the basic skills to protect themselves online.
What are some future goals you have for the business?
Developing more games and creating more cybersecurity learning objectives for children. As technology evolves so must we to keep pace with these changes. My hope is that Security Squad can grow to become one of the world’s leading programs for teaching children about the importance of online safety.