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This article was contributed by National Cyber Security Centre

The National Cyber Security Centre respond to cyber security incidents to reduce the harm they cause to organisations and the wider UK

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CyberSprinters: helping 7–11-year-olds stay secure online

With increasing exposure to scams and the dangers of having personal details stolen online, we need to find a way to better support our children to stay secure on the internet. To help you with this, the government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has developed a brand-new interactive game. 

'CyberSprinters' is an online game (with accompanying puzzles and learning resources) designed to help your children learn how to stay secure online. It encourages children to make good decisions around their cyber security, using a fun and accessible format. 

 

 

In the game, children play as a 'CyberSprinter', racing against their depleting battery to collect CyberSpheres and score points. They can boost their power by collecting padlocks and correctly answering a 50/50 question about staying cyber secure. If they bump into a battery-sucking cyber villain, they play a mini-game (with a different internet lesson) to win back their stolen power. The main themes covered are:

  • creating and managing passwords
  • protecting accounts, devices and data
  • dealing with suspicious messages

On the NCSC website you’ll also find a wordsearch and crossword to try out, which reinforce what children will have learnt by playing CyberSprinters, or they can be used independently. (Keep an eye out for more puzzles being released this autumn!). The game is aimed at children aged between 7 and 11, when they may begin to seek more autonomy with their online accounts, such as social mediagaming and even explore the world of online shopping. CyberSprinters will encourage good cyber hygiene practices, ideally before those bad habits that cyber criminals exploit (such as using the same password) have been established.

Your children may cover these subjects in more depth at their school or clubs, as the NCSC have also developed practitioner-led activities for use in these settings. As part of this, your child will be encouraged to have a discussion with family and friends, so playing the game with them at home will be a great way to have that conversation.

To play the game and download the resources, please visit the CyberSprinters web page.

Good luck, and get sprinting!

Want to know more about how to stay secure online?

Visit The National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Aware website. You can find out how to reset your passwords, turn on two factor authentication and update your device. There is also lots more useful guidance on their Individuals and Families page.

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