Teaching Internet Security Through Illustrated Books

For my Semester-in-Residence project, I tackled the conundrum of how to help non-technical people stay safe on the highly technical and complex Internet. According to the digital marketing agencies We Are Social and Hootsuite, an average of over a million new users join the Internet every 24 hours. Putting this in perspective, the world has approximately 7.8 billion people - 57% actively use the Internet, and 52% of these people access the Internet from a mobile device and these percentages continue to grow. In contrast, according to CPO Magazine, there are only 2.8 million cybersecurity professionals in the workforce. Clearly, we cannot rely on the small percentage of security experts alone to protect people from Internet harm. People must learn how to inoculate themselves against Internet harm. To add to this conundrum, according to a Microsoft and Time magazine study, the average attention span a person has to be engaged in a new subject is 8 seconds, and once engaged, the average attention span a person has to maintain interest in that subject is 10 minutes. How does this non-technical, short-attention-spanned population learn a “mundane” and complicated subject? Obviously all Internet users do not need to know everything about the Internet, but in order to have a base layer of protection, they must understand basics concepts behind the Internet. To address the challenge of promoting Internet-secure behaviors in this audience, I created a series of simple, illustrated books. I felt that using a visual and tangible art form would be able to engage a wide demographic ranging from preschool to seniors.