Free digital literacy lessons

Resources for teachers and parents

Digital Matters is a free online platform featuring free digital literacy lessons to help teach online safety through interactive lessons and dynamic storytelling.

Digital Matters is a free online safety lesson platform for teachers

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What is Digital Matters?

Digital Matters is a free teaching resource featuring digital literacy lessons to help children and parents understand online safety. It uses interactive activities and discussion points to dig into important online safety issues, and a choice-based story where children can practise their learnt skills with instant feedback.

Interactive Learning

Supported by the lesson plan, children are led through a number of quiz questions that ask them to use what they know or have learnt. Helpers support them with additional hints. After each set of questions within the digital literacy lesson, children can review the correct answers, and teachers or parents can have important discussions around the online safety topic.

Once Upon Online

This choice-based story asks children to read each chapter and make choices based on what they learned during the Interactive Learning section of each digital literacy lesson to help characters reach positive endings. Stories feature diverse characters, immediate emotional feedback and every opportunity to make choices that get characters out of negative situations. Children can redo this journey as many times as they like to try and find all  the different potential endings!

See how the Digital Matters platform works to engage young people in digital literacy lessons.

“As a student I found this activity fun, useful and educating. I really enjoyed it!”


“These are good lessons about the digital space . . . especially social media for kids. I am just going through as a teacher and a parent and I think I would want to add to the curriculum of my kids.”

Digital Matters user


“It is good, I learned lots of stuff and my opinion is this website is legit. I LOVE IT😎😎😎”


“These are amazingly comprehensive lessons. I love that they aren’t going for the scare tactic approach and that you use gender neutral pronouns.”

Marisa V.

Instructional Designer

“As a student I really enjoyed the ‘once upon a time’ [sic] session.”


“Amazing place to teach year 6 children before they move to secondary school. Me and my class had an amazing day of it we also used this in our online bulling assembly.”

Grace P.


“An effective resource for the teaching of online safety.”

Stuart R.

“Well planned and resourced. Clear information on coverage of national curriculum and education for a connected world. I liked all of the options given to make the lessons more interesting”

Cheryl B.

What digital literacy lessons are available?

Currently, Digital Matters features a series of 8 free digital literacy lesson plans and activities that teach key online safety skills. Lessons currently focus on children aged 9-11 (Key Stage 2/Second Level). Explore what they cover below.

Online Research

What skills do children learn?

In this digital literacy lesson, children learn:

  • What is means to ‘own’ school work
  • The merit of doing your own work instead of copying
  • How research teaches a range of skills beyond just the subject
  • What to do if you get stuck on school work
  • Appropriate ways to use online tools like artificial intelligence (AI)

Once Upon Online synopsis

Rory loves to research, so when they’re given a choice between researching Alexander Fleming or Florence Nightingale at school, they’re ready! But they soon find that research for school is a little harder than they thought. In “Research Rescue,” can they find the support they need to ace their project?

Go to the “Copyright and Ownership” lesson.

Positive Self-Image Online

What skills do children learn?

In this digital literacy lesson, children learn:

  • What self-image is
  • What identity is
  • How self-image impacts our identity
  • Where to get support if they need it
  • How social media impacts self-image
  • What to look out for on social media and what changes to make

Once Upon Online synopsis

In “Under Pressure,” Antoni loves finding fitness tips on social media. But when he starts to compare himself to the images he sees, he wonders if he’s doing enough and starts to look into his options. Help Antoni make positive choices to support his self-image and wellbeing.

Go to the “Self-Image and Identity” lesson.

Sharing Online

What skills do children learn?

In this digital literacy lesson, children learn:

  • What online reputation is
  • How we create our online reputation
  • What could lead to a negative reputation
  • The importance of asking permission before videoing or taking pictures of others
  • What is and isn’t appropriate to share online
  • Where to get support and how to resolve conflict

Once Upon Online synopsis

In “Sharing Gone Wrong,” Joseph is hanging out with his friends, including his best friend, Michael, when he decides to record the moment so they can all remember it. But when he shares it publicly, things start to go wrong. Help Joseph repair his friendship and learn about asking for consent when it comes to sharing content featuring other people.

Go to the “Online Reputation” lesson.

Balancing Screen Time

What skills do children learn?

In this digital literacy lesson, children learn:

  • What ‘balancing’ screen time means
  • How to balance screen time
  • Where to get support
  • What tools they can use to manage their screen use

Once Upon Online synopsis

In “A Delicate Balance,” Emmy is a child in care and uses her smartphone and social media to keep in contact with friends and family she doesn’t always get to see. But things go wrong when her time spent on her device leaves her feeling stressed, takes away her sleep and leads to problems in school. Help Emmy find the right balance with her screen use to support her wellbeing.

Go to the ‘Health, Wellbeing and Lifestyle’ lesson.

Healthy Behaviour Online

What skills do children learn?

In this digital literacy lesson, children learn:

  • What positive and negative behaviours online look like
  • Positive actions someone can take if they need support
  • What positive interactions look like
  • How to get support if someone makes them uncomfortable online
  • How to support others online in positive ways

Once Upon Online synopsis

Meera and her friends LOVE Dragoncry, an online video game. When a friend of a friend appears, Meera has to make positive choices about how to interact with them, including what to say and what to believe. In “A ‘Friend’ Appears,” users need to help Meera interact in healthy ways online and to get support.

Go to the “Online Relationships” lesson.


What skills do children learn?

In this digital literacy lesson, children learn:

  • What cyberbullying is and isn’t
  • What it looks like
  • How and where to get support for themselves or their friends
  • How to support victims and challenge friends who show bullying behaviours

Once Upon Online synopsis

When Alex sees his friend, Riley, saying nasty things about Zane in a group chat, he isn’t sure what to do. Zane can’t see the messages, so is it really hurting him? In “Friendships in Danger,” help Alex become an upstander and find the right support to resolve conflict within his friendship group.

Go to the “Online Bullying” lesson.

Thinking Critically Online

What skills do children learn?

In this digital literacy lesson, children learn:

  • The difference between belief, fact and opinion
  • What being sceptical means
  • Some signs information might not be trustworthy
  • What trustworthy sources look like
  • Tips for thinking critically about information they see
  • Where to get support when they need it

Once Upon Online synopsis

“The Secret Identity of HarleeGamez” follows Adil who learns some shocking information about their favourite streamer, HarleeGamez. But he isn’t sure how trustworthy it is. Help Adil get to the bottom of what’s real to stop the spread of harmful misinformation.

Go to the “Managing Online Information” lesson.

Protecting Personal Information Online

What skills do children learn?

In this digital literacy lesson, children learn:

  • What makes a strong password
  • What data and privacy are
  • How privacy settings help
  • What kind of information should stay hidden online
  • Why keeping passwords private (even from friends) is important

Once Upon Online synopsis

In “The Trouble With Sharing,” Elan is about to ruin her streak when access to her phone is limited on holiday. So, she enlists the help of her friend Duha. Things aren’t so straightforward though, and users have to help Elan keep her personal information private while seeking out support when it’s needed.

Go to the “Privacy and Security” lesson.

How can parents use digital literacy lessons?

  • Start as a parent, choose your digital literacy lesson and download the Parent Pack
  • Complete the Parent Pack quiz with your child — or compete against them
  • While Interactive Learning works well in the classroom, Once Upon Online is perfect for home
  • Read the Once Upon Online story and make choices together; or, each do your own journey and compare your endings.

The cover image of A Delicate Balance from the Health, Wellbeing and Lifestyle story on Digital Matters featuring the main character, Emmy, looking worried as she struggles to balance her screen time.

After completing the digital literacy lesson’s story, talk to your child about the choices they made. What happened? Did anything surprise them? Have they ever experienced something similar?

Then, discuss the options your child has if they worry about something online. Encourage them to come to you, talk to another trusted adult or speak with a helpline counsellor — whatever makes them most comfortable.

Learn more about potential online issues to better support your child.

Supported by ESET

ESET is a digital security company protecting millions of customers and thousands of businesses worldwide. We are dedicated to protecting the progress that technology enables, this of course includes our children’s safe progress through their digital lives, therefore we are happy to support the Digital Matters platform featuring free digital literacy lessons.