Vineeth Veeramachaneni: A teen raising awareness about cybersecurity and education
Vineeth Veeramachaneni, 15, United States
My name is Vineeth Veeramachaneni and I am a 15 year-old youth delegate with a passion for science and technology. I am from Newtown, Pennsylvania, and I am a rising high school junior who loves sports.
My family is internationally oriented, as my parents are from India, and being a second-generation Indian American, I am fortunate to assume the rich cultural heritage from my parents, as well as the larger American culture that is around me every day. This exposure has helped me understand the importance of education, hard work and compassion at a very early age.
I believe in education for all children, and today’s technology is helping kids achieve their dreams, both in learning and pursuing better opportunities for themselves and their communities.
Today, more children around the world are learning online than ever before. Children in rural and hard-to-reach areas use the internet to take classes from portals like Khan Academy. In addition, today’s youth constantly consumes information primarily through social media, TED, and online courses.
According to a Pew research study, 97 percent of U.S. teens are online, and on average, spend more than four hours per day using the Internet. While this provides an excellent opportunity to educate people, it poses a great threat for data privacy and security, if we are not prepared.
As a sponsor for The National Cybersecurity Alliance, I have participated in cyber-awareness initiatives in both my school and community, such as Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Data Privacy Day. Through these events, I realized that periodic initiatives and checklists are not sufficient in achieving our goals regarding cyber security. Achieving such goals requires commitment from today’s youth to not only take ownership regarding online safety, but also to follow safe practices at all times.
To guide teens and younger children into doing so, I founded an organization called SafeTeensOnline. This organization consists of a group of motivated teenagers whose mission is to educate peers by raising awareness among themselves and the community about Internet safety, while providing the tools and knowledge to enable safe and secure online practices. We conduct campaigns to establish a culture of cybersecurity among the youth, and we also educate them on how to be safe online. To promote our organization and our goals, we use a brand ambassador program, which helps us recruit people from all demographics.
During the Youth Assembly, I want to learn more about the educational SDG and how my organization, SafeTeensOnline, can fit with the objectives of that goal. I plan to learn from other delegates about how they have developed innovative solutions to problems they are facing in their own communities. In addition, I want to understand how to promote my ideas and expand my campaign outside the United States to other parts of the world. Interacting with delegates from all around the world will help me with that objective.
I am looking forward to forming partnerships and friendships to exchange ideas and collaborate in the future.