WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will partner with over four million members of Boys & Girls Clubs of America to heighten cybersecurity, the DHS announced on Friday.
The over-100-years-old Boys & Girls Clubs of America join the DHS "Stop.Think.Connect." campaign, a national effort to achieve a higher level of internet security by educating Americans at home, in the workplace and in communities.
"In today's world, Americans can use technology to engage with communities around the globe," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in the announcement.
"Now, more than ever, it is important that all Americans learn to protect themselves online and do their part to ensure that cyberspace is a safe and secure environment for all Internet users."
Boys & Girls Clubs of America president and CEO Roxanne Spillett said in the announcement that because technology skills are critical to closing the achievement gap, preventing abuse of technology becomes equally important.
"Technology skills and access to the Internet are critical in closing the academic achievement gap and leveling the playing field for all children," said Spillett.
"Equally as important is ensuring online safety by preventing abuse of technology where bullying and other negative behaviors live on indefinitely."
The partnership will provide Boys & Girls Clubs tools and resources to raise awareness of online safety among youth.
The Clubs serve some 4.1 million young people at nearly 4,000 locations in all 50 states. Of the members, 64 percent are from minority families, according to their site.
"Cybersecurity is not an end unto itself;" President Barack Obama said in a statement on the Stop.Think.Connect site, "it is instead an obligation that our governments and societies must take on willingly, to ensure that innovation continues to flourish, drive markets, and improve lives."
(Reporting by Molly O'Toole; Editing by Jerry Norton)