Primary School

Online safety teaching resources

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.

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

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. Children in this age group were most likely to be bullied face-to-face with online bullying continuing via text/messaging apps and in online games. However, this age group is also the most likely to tell someone like a trusted adult that they have been bullied. This likelihood decreased with age.

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

Additional reading

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 only.

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 is 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

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

Resources to support children

In addition to our parent pack featuring bespoke resources for parents, you’ll find a range of primary school (KS1 and KS2) resources to help children develop the right digital skills to stay safe online in the classroom and at home with parents.

 

In the classroom

When it comes to educating primary school children about online safety, as teachers it can be a challenge to keep adapting your teaching materials to evolve with the child’s age and new technologies.

We’ve compiled a diverse selection of lesson plans and other teaching resources to help you get the most from your time allocated to online safety. Keep checking for updates as we’ll be adding even more as they become available.

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Conversation at home

Many parents feel in the dark when it comes to their children’s internet safety and trust schools to help them get up to speed.

There are lots of easy ways that you can encourage parents to discover the information they need. We’ve provided some downloadable materials to help you. There are also resources available to help them find more engaging ways to get  children talking about e-safety.

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Engaging with parents

Education about child online safety shouldn’t stop in the classroom. With the right support, there are plenty of ways parents can be involved in the process too.

We’ve created online safety presentations you can download and run through with parents to get them thinking about the issues. You’ll also find a selection of interactive resources to share with parents for use with children in their home environment.

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Keeping up with online safety training and policy

Keep up with the latest developments in online safety policies and procedures by taking a look through our list of resources. You’ll find resources around policy and guidance and the latest training programmes on a range of issues.

More resources

Use our school online safety age guides to give children the right advice to deal with some of the online challenges they may face.

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See online safety basics to help your child make smarter and safer choices online and get the best out of the fast-moving pace of technology.

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See the UKCIS Education for a Connected World framework which highlights what a child should know in terms of current online technology, its influence on behaviour and development, and what skills they need to be able to navigate it.

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