Generational Cybersecurity: What it is and why it matters.

Cybersecurity - April 04, 2023
Christopher Rence Editor

Early cybersecurity education is needed to create more informed citizens.


The importance of organizational cybersecurity is well understood. There is broad understanding that we need to protect our companies and infrastructure from cyber threats. The impact of cyber-attacks on businesses can be significant, with the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. costing $9.44M

A cyber-attack can lead to:

  • Financial losses: Cyber-attacks can result in significant financial losses for businesses, including the costs of repairing systems, recovering data, and paying legal fees.
  • Disruption of operations: Cyber-attacks can disrupt business operations, leading to lost productivity, delays in service, and customer dissatisfaction.
  • Damage to reputation: Cyber-attacks can damage a business’s reputation, particularly if customer data is compromised or if there is a prolonged outage. This can lead to a loss of trust and a decline in business.
  • Legal and regulatory consequences: Cyber-attacks can result in legal and regulatory consequences for businesses, particularly if they fail to protect customer data or if they violate privacy laws.
  • Loss of intellectual property: Cyber-attacks can result in the theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets and proprietary information. This can give competitors an advantage and undermine a business’s competitiveness.


But to keep our businesses safe, we need to start educating people early in life. The reality is that employees are one of the most vulnerable entry points for a cyber-attack on a business. By starting to build cyber-literacy early, we can create more educated citizens, which leads to more aware employees.

What is Generational Cybersecurity?

Generational cybersecurity is a term I coined for educating people on how to identify and protect themselves against threats throughout each stage of their life. The reality is that we all have a role to play in helping keep our society safe. Educators, parents, employers, and legislators need to be doing more to build an understanding and awareness of how cyber-criminals operate and what steps individuals can take to stay safe throughout their lives.

Start early by educating children on how to identify cyber-threats

Children are among the most vulnerable to cyber-attacks. And the consequences can be long-lasting. Some of the potential impacts of cyber-attacks on children include:


  • Identity theft: If a child’s personal information is compromised in a cyber-attack, it can be used to commit identity theft. This can have long-term consequences for their credit history and financial well-being.
  • Exposure to inappropriate content: Children may be exposed to inappropriate content as a result of a cyber-attack, such as malware or phishing emails that contain links to adult or violent content.
  • Cyberbullying: Cyber-attacks can be used to target children with cyberbullying, which can have serious emotional and psychological consequences.
  • Online predators: Cyber-attacks can be used by online predators to gain access to personal information or to target children for grooming or exploitation.
  • Damage to reputation: Cyber-attacks can damage a child’s reputation, particularly if they are victimized by cyberbullying or if their personal information is shared online.
  • Psychological effects: Cyber-attacks can have a significant psychological impact on children, including anxiety, depression, and fear of using technology.


It’s important for parents, educators, and other caregivers to be aware of these risks and to take steps to protect children online. This includes educating children about safe online behavior, setting appropriate boundaries and guidelines for online activities, and monitoring their online activities to ensure their safety. Additionally, businesses and organizations that collect and store children’s personal information have a responsibility to take appropriate measures to protect that information from cyber-attacks.


Early education leads to more informed employees

The truth is the actions that lead to the exploitation of children are essentially the same as those that put our businesses at risk. By starting cybersecurity literacy early, we will not only help individuals protect themselves throughout their lives, but we’ll also create more informed employees that will lead to less vulnerable companies.

Common Vulnerability Risks to Children Risks to Employees
Clicking suspicious links

Children may be more likely to click on links in emails or social media messages without verifying the source. These links can lead to phishing scams or malware downloads.


Phishing emails are a common way for cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive information. Employees who click on links or open attachments in phishing emails can inadvertently give attackers access to their accounts or the company’s network.


Using weak passwords Children may use simple, easy-to-guess passwords or they may share their passwords with friends. This can make it easier for cyber criminals to access their accounts and steal personal information.

Employees who use weak passwords or reuse passwords across multiple accounts can make it easier for cybercriminals to gain access to their accounts or the company’s network.


Sharing personal / sensitive information

Children may be more willing to share personal information online, such as their name, age, address, and school. This information can be used by cybercriminals to steal identities or commit other crimes.


Employees who share sensitive information