Why does cybersecurity matter for youth? Young people are increasingly online in a rapidly digitizing world. Easier access to the Internet has fundamentally changed the way many youth interact with the world around them. The smartphone in a young person’s pocket serves as their gateway to new ideas, their source of entertainment, their connection to friends and family around the world, and their vehicle for self expression.
Digital development empowers youth to become citizen journalists, online entrepreneurs, digital artists, and voices for change in their communities. However, this rapid digitalization brings new risks. Cyber threats are among the emerging digital harms that youth must contend with as they navigate online spaces. According to one study, 73 percent of 8-18 year-old children and youth online are exposed to cyber risks. While youth can be the victims of cyber attacks, they are also key to the solution to global cybersecurity workforce shortages. Supporting technologically savvy youth in entering the cybersecurity workforce can improve development outcomes by providing high paying jobs to youth in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) while also ensuring that these LMICs have the resources they need to counter cyber attacks.

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