Teaching children about cyber security
As we continue to live in unusual times, the NCSC continues with our mission to ensure that the UK is the safest place to live and work online. Key parts of the National Cyber Strategy launched this year are:
- building cyber resilience in our communities; and
- providing citizens with the knowledge and tools to be resilient online.
Last year, we launched CyberSprinters, a suite of resources for 7 to 11-year-olds. This included an online game and resources for educational practitioners. The online game sees players become a ‘cybersprinter’ who races against its own depleting battery power. Users can win battery power by correctly answering questions about cyber security but face losing it if they bump into ‘cybervillains’.
To support learning objectives in the game, CyberSprinters also has educational presentations and activities for children to complete. Use these resources to encourage wider discussion of the subject. You can find them on the NCSC website.
Resources to teach children at home
We are pleased to add new resources for children to complete at home with their adults. Working closely with Internet Matters, there are 15 fun puzzles, such as crosswords, and three interactive stories. With these stories, readers can choose different actions for the characters to change the narrative as they read along.
The resources reinforce the messages around basic cyber hygiene that the CyberSprinters game introduces. As such, much of the focus is on the following Cyber Aware behaviours:
- • having a strong and separate password for your email account
- • using three random words to create passwords
- • turning on 2-step verification
- • saving passwords in your browser
- • updating devices and backing up data.
How to use these resources with children at home
Each puzzle contains an explainer. This tells the adult about the age ranges the puzzle is aimed at and which of the Cyber Aware behaviours the puzzle aims to teach.
We also have some puzzles for children with special educational needs that work to introduce these children to cyber hygiene behaviours. The stories — Trojan Tales, Hacker Games and Who is the Clone — all start with characters who are Cyber spies working for GCHQ to tackle Cybercrime.
To access the game and these new resources, please visit the CyberSprinters page and look for the Home Activities section.
Additionally, there is a useful certificate available to download and print along with a leader board for the game that encourages children’s improvement.
Have fun sprinting and puzzling!