Primary School Resources

Free e-safety teaching materials

While many games and social media apps are designed for children 13+, primary school-aged children are still active online. That’s why it’s important to give them the skills they need to make safe choices with quality primary school resources.

From cyberbullying to thinking critically about the online information they read, we have a variety of primary school resources to help teach children about safe online use.

Primary school teaching resources

Common online safety issues in Key Stages 1 and 2

The digital world offers a variety of benefits to children and young people, but not all children understand the harmful risks that may affect them online. Below are common e-safety issues that children in KS1 and KS2 may experience. See what they are and how teachers can support them.

Cyberbullying

According to Ofcom’s 2022 report, 76% of parents of children aged 8-11 were worried about online bullying. 8-11s were most likely to be bullied face-to-face but online bullying continues via text/messaging apps and in online games. However, this age group is also most likely to tell someone like a trusted adult that they have been bullied. This likelihood decreases with age.

Some research suggests that children might stop reporting bullying because they feel like it’s not dealt with appropriately. As educators, it’s important to teach children the best routes for reporting online bullying while also sharing resources for them to use. Abusive behaviour should never go unchecked.

Additional reading

Primary school resources to support children

Fake news and misinformation

47% of children aged 5-11 have their own social media profile despite most platforms requiring a minimum age of 13. With so much false information spread through social media, it’s important to teach children how to think critically about what they see online.

False information is often called ‘fake news’, but it’s more than that. The two main types of false information are misinformation and disinformation. Misinformation is false information that people share because they think it’s true while disinformation is false information that is known to be false and purposely shared. In many cases, disinformation can become misinformation.

If someone purposely shares false information, they usually have a motive for it. This could be to make sales, influence beliefs or get views/page engagement. When others believe the information, they are likely to share and spread it to others who may also believe it. If users don’t fact-check what they see, they may continue to spread it unknowingly.

Additional reading

Primary school resources to support children

Inappropriate content

Most social media and gaming platforms require users to be 13-years-old or older. However, Ofcom’s 2022 report found that 33% of 5-7-year-olds and 60% of 8-11-year-olds already had a social media profile. Only 42% of parents in the same report could identify the correct minimum age for having a social media account. In many cases, children don’t understand the reasons behind age requirements. So, it’s important to teach them.

Inappropriate content can include anything not suitable for a child’s age such as:

  • pornographic videos or images
  • nasty language
  • hate speech
  • content promoting eating disorders and self-harm
  • images or videos showing violent or cruel acts
  • sexism or misogynistic content

Conversations and lessons with children about inappropriate content can help them understand what is and isn’t okay for them to see.

Additional reading

Primary school resources to support children

Privacy and security

In their 2022 Children’s Media Use and Attitudes report, Ofcom found that 35% of children use privacy and security features that might actually put them at more risk. Just like adults, children are at risk of having their identities stolen or their online reputation impacted while they use their devices.

Children are more likely than adults to overshare personal details like their address or phone number online. They may not fully understand how their information could be used to target them for blackmail, grooming, abuse or bullying, so it’s important to keep them informed.

When it comes to passwords, many children use simple words or don’t understand the need for a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters and characters. They usually create passwords that are fairly weak, which they may use across platforms and accounts, and which they may share with friends.

Additional reading

Primary school resources to support children

Screen time

44% of children aged 5 to 11 have their own mobile phones. They use a variety of devices and platforms including video games, video-sharing platforms and social media apps. On average: boys play around 4 hours of video games per day while girls play around 2 hours; children aged 7-16 spend just under 3 ½ hours per day online; children aged 4-15 spend just under six hours per week watching video content. Additionally, 62% of 7-16s have access to their mobile phones at all times, which means they may spend more time than is recorded.

In the same report from Ofcom as the above, 40% of parents say they struggle to manage their child’s screen time. Support from schools is vital in helping children understand how to balance screen use.

Balanced screen use means using devices for different purposes. This may be playing video games or browsing social media but could also include completing homework, doing school work, learning new skills, practising wellbeing and more. It also means taking breaks from digital to focus on offline activities like school, spending time with family and friends, staying active and more. In many cases, children need support to help manage this balance, especially at the primary level.

Additional reading

Primary school resources to support children

Popular platforms for children in KS1 and KS2

Learn about the more popular games and platforms that your students might use, including their benefits and the issues to watch out for.

Note: Many platforms are only suitable for children over the age of 13 but may be used by children in KS1 and KS2. However, the following are suitable for this age group.

Featured primary school resources to use in the classroom

Our free e-safety resources help make teaching online safety easy. From detailed lessons to unique tools, these resources for primary school cover some of the most important online safety topics for children in primary school.

Digital Matters is a free primary school resource for teachers

Digital Matters

Aligned with the Education for a Connected World framework, Digital Matters is a free primary school resource and learning platform to teach e-safety to children in years 5 and 6. See how it can engage your students in their online safety.

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The Online Together Project

Use this tool to start a discussion about stereotypes found online. Create a lesson that uses the gender stereotypes quiz as an assessment, activity or starter, and begin challenging biases online.

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Find the Fake

Help children learn how to recognise unreliable or false information online using this quiz created with Google. Use it within your lesson as a starter, main activity or assessment to help minimise risk online.

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Cyberbullying conversations

Use our conversation starter guides to help students feel comfortable about being honest about cyberbullying. Create a homework task to get parents involved in their child’s online safety.

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Digital Resilience Toolkit

Teach children to be resilient online by using this primary school resource as a guide to your lesson. Or send this resource home to help parents support children’s digital resilience at home and at school.

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Digital agreement

Help children think about how much time their families spend on devices with this family agreement template. Have children create one to share with their families or send the template home to parents.

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