Inside the FBI

On this episode of Inside the FBI, get an overview of the Safe Online Surfing Internet Challenge, which helps teach kids in grades three through eight how to be better digital citizens.

For a full transcript and additional resources, visit

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Monica Grover: The Internet is an essential part of our everyday lives—including for our kids, who log on to stay connected to their friends, do research for school projects, and play their favorite games. But it’s vital that they know the basic guidelines for staying safe online, like protecting their passwords and reporting cyberbullies.

To teach kids about the dangers they may encounter in cyber space—and how to protect themselves—the FBI launched the Safe Online Surfing Internet Challenge—or SOS program—in 2012. Since then, more than 1.6 million kids in grades three through eight have learned how to become better digital citizens.

On this episode of Inside the FBI, we’ll give you an overview of the SOS program and let you know how kids, parents, and teachers can take part.

I’m Monica Grover, and this is Inside the FBI.

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The ways we use the internet, and the risks that come along with it, have evolved since we launched the SOS program more than a decade ago. So, ahead of the 2023-2024 school year, we’ve refreshed the program with a new design and updated content.

While taking the course, students now navigate through a more modern and mobile-responsive gaming experience as they guide a robot avatar through six areas. Along the way, they answer true/false, multiple choice, and matching questions. And after completing all levels, students can take a final exam.

Most importantly, the questions they answer reflect the latest threats that they may face online—they learn things how to recognize secure and trustworthy sites, how to avoid viruses and scams, and just how to be a good virtual citizen. They also learn how to respond appropriately when they do encounter any sort of threat.

Questions and answers are tailored to each grade level. For example, third graders are introduced to concepts like downloads, spam, and hackers. Meanwhile, eighth graders learn that those small payments you make within games or apps—known as microtransactions—can become addictive and really add up.

And kids of all ages learn the importance of talking to trusted adults—like parents, guardians, and teachers—about any encounters online that make them feel scared or unsafe.

If you’re a teacher interested in signing up your students for the SOS program, visit

You can register third through eighth grade classes from any public, private, or homeschool that has at least five students and is located in the United States. In addition to the curriculum, the SOS program includes a monthly nationwide challenge where classes can compete against each other for a certificate and, when possible, receive a congratulatory visit from FBI personnel.

The challenge portion of SOS opens September 1 and runs through May 30 each year.

Teachers manage their students’ participation in the program; the FBI does not collect or store any student information. And the program also provides teachers with a curriculum that meets state and federal internet safety mandates.

But the SOS program isn’t limited to just the classroom. Parents, guardians, teachers, and kids can all explore the SOS website at home at any time at

The FBI hopes that students who take the Safe Online Surfing Internet Challenge use the information they learn to be savvy cyber citizens.

For more resources on keeping kids safe online, visit

This has been another production of Inside the FBI. You can follow us on your favorite podcast player, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts. You can also subscribe to e-mail alerts about new episodes at

I’m Monica Grover from the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs. Thanks for tuning in.