Barefoot's new #BeCyberSmart resources launched today

14 April 2021

How do you teach primary children about cyber security?

Courtroom dramas and phishing games are all part of a new set of resources created by Barefoot in partnership with the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The new bank of resources, #BeCyberSmart, launches today, to enable children to learn about cyber security.

Neil Rickus, Barefoot Primary Teacher and Content Writer  looks at why children should be taught about this potentially complex area of computing - and how the new resources can help bring the cyber world to life in the classroom.

“Children as young as eight have engaged in online activity that has breached the Computer Misuse Act, according to the NCA. However, children of this age may be unaware they are potentially breaking the law, or that their actions can have real world consequences. It is more important than ever to educate children to understand their cyber responsibilities, as an effective foundation to help keep them safe and prevent crime.

“At KS1, the #BeCyberSmart resources help raise younger children’s awareness of copyright and digital permissions. For example, through examining both physical and digital objects within the lesson, children develop their understanding of ownership and when they need to ask others to use and share content. These resources provide an excellent starting point for children to consider the impact of how they use technology, along with addressing the National Curriculum requirement for pupils to, “use technology safely and respectfully”.

“As children enter KS2, they become increasingly skilled with using technology and, as children get older, the potential for them to use a computer to cause significant disruption increases. In order to address this issue, the initial KS2 #BeCyberSmart resources introduce children to the Computer Misuse Act through a courtroom scenario, where children have to pass judgement on a range of offences linked to technology usage.

“Children are often unaware of the impact cyber crime can have, so the resources include information on the victims of crime, which has led to really interesting conversations within the classroom when trialing the lessons. Along with providing coverage of the National Curriculum statement for pupils to “use technology safely” and “respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour”, the sequence of lessons enables children to produce their own video to demonstrate their understanding of the topic. Children therefore also have an opportunity to develop important digital literacy skills, such as those outlined in the recent report from the NCCE,  Literacy Within the Computing Curriculum, including capturing and editing digital content.

“Roles within the cyber security industry are becoming more widespread and demand for people with the required skills is already outstripping supply. The #BeCyberSmart resources for older primary children develop children’s awareness of roles in the sector by examining the tools and techniques used by cyber criminals. As children complete a number of challenges during the lessons, they develop their programming knowledge, along with increasing their understanding of how to stay safe online.
“Finally, feedback from schools has shown how much children enjoy Barefoot’s online games, so the #BeCyberSmart resources include the newly developed Phisherman game, which can either be used by pupils at home, or in the classroom with the accompanying lesson plans.

“Phishing scams, where a person inadvertently provides personal information, such as passwords or bank details, to a cyber criminal, can have a significant impact on both individuals and business. Through playing the game, children engage in a range of scenarios where they can learn how to spot phishing scams, such as poorly spelt messages or fake phone calls, and avoid having their personal information stolen.
“We’re thrilled to have teamed up with the NCA to have produced the #BeCyberSmart bank of resources, bringing together our joint expertise and experience. Do give the resources a go with your class and let us know about your experience!”

Neil Rickus is a Barefoot Content Author and Education Specialist with BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT, a Senior Lecturer in Computing Education at the University of Hertfordshire and the founder of Computing Champions.
Barefoot works in partnership with the NCCE to  provide complementary programmes that contribute to the overall offer for teachers and students.
Barefoot from Computing at School and BT, empowers primary school teachers to deliver the computing curriculum brilliantly, with free workshops, helpful online guides and engaging lesson plans and resources. Through the BT Skills for Tomorrow programme, Barefoot is helping 5 million children across the UK make the most of life in the digital world.