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With debate ongoing over the efficacy and legitimacy of child protection provisions contained in the government’s Online Safety Bill, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched a new education game for seven to 11 year-olds to help educators and youth workers teach younger children the basics of cyber security.
The free CyberSprinters game sees players race against the clock to tackle a number of cyber security questions as they bid to score points and defeat cyber criminals. It is accompanied by a set of supporting activities covering topics such as how to use and manage passwords, how to protect devices and what to do if they receive suspicious messages online.
“Children are growing up in an increasingly digital world, so it’s really important they learn about online security early on,” said Sarah Lyons, NCSC deputy director for economy and society engagement. “Our CyberSprinters game offers a fun, free, interactive way for children to understand how to make good choices to protect themselves, their devices and any online accounts.
“We encourage those working in education to make use of the new resources to help us teach the next generation how to stay safe from cyber threats.”
The programme is specifically designed to inject cyber security topics with a little fun and interactivity at the right time to catch the attention of children who may be beginning to venture beyond so-called ‘walled gardens’ to seek more independence on the World Wide Web. Its content is ultimately based on the expert advice already collated for the NCSC’s successful Cyber Aware campaign.
The resources also support school curricula across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, linking in with key learning objectives, but can also be used in less formal settings and at home alongside advice for parents published through the ThinkUKnow campaign, which also covers basic cyber security topics alongside advice on how to support or protect children who may be being groomed or sexually exploited online.
Children and teens aged over 11 can take advantage of the NCSC’s ongoing CyberFirst programme, which offers a range of free opportunities to learn more about cyber security, and support the possibility of pursuing a career in the field.