A cybersecurity curriculum launched by HPE in partnership with The Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital aims to sharpen the cybersecurity skills of girls between 9 and 11, educating them on personal information and digital footprint and online safety as well as privacy and security and cyberbullying.

The program also includes Cyber Squad, a new online game that takes the Scouts through a set of real-life scenarios and the consequences of online behavior, both risky and safe.

If a Girl Scout completes the whole program, she gains a patch for her uniform or vest.

“Girls are going online earlier and earlier, and it’s especially crucial that they are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to be savvy consumers, to protect themselves, their identity and data,” Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital CEO Lidia Soto-Harmon said in a release. 

While the average child gets a first smartphone at just over 10 years old and nearly 40 percent create a social media account between 11-12 years old, according to Influence Central’s 2016 Digital Trends Study, they often don’t have enough cybersecurity knowledge to protect themselves.

“Kids are becoming more mobile, networked and connected, but this also comes with alarming risks and dangers. Making basic cybersecurity awareness at a young age is imperative, and as fundamental as safety skills in the physical world, like learning how to cross the street,” HPE CISO Liz Joyce said in a release. “As someone who tackles cyber risks and crime by day and goes home to a young daughter at night, I know just how critical this education is.”

Joyce said that the collaboration is intended to “arm Girl Scouts with the cybersecurity literacy and knowledge they need to be savvy, secure and safe online, and to empower them to be good digital citizens.”

Soto-Harmon added that by “collaborating with the passionate women in cybersecurity at HPE to make cyber smarts fun, we are not only sparking new interest in STEM for girls, but getting them excited about technology – through technology.”