To help our customers stay safe online, we asked The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to tell us about the resources they’ve developed for young people, including the video game ‘CyberSprinters’.

Young people are growing up in a digital world which provides amazing opportunities, but also exposes them to online dangers.

At the NCSC, our mission is to make the UK the safest place to live and work online. As part of this, we’ve developed a range of games and activities aimed at young people aged 7 to 11, and their families. They’re designed to help children and families make smart decisions about staying secure online - and have some fun along the way.

The CyberSprinters game

In this online game, players race against time as their battery runs out, trying to collect CyberSpheres and score points. They can boost their power by collecting padlocks and correctly answering questions about staying cyber secure. If a question is answered wrongly, a useful tip on staying safe online is shared with the player. The game also introduces characters to watch out for, such as Hackers.

Racing against time and answering questions about staying cyber secure

With support from parents and guardians, children can also try mazes, riddles and more, and read an interactive adventure story where they’re a spy working for GCHQ, the UK intelligence agency, tracking down cyber criminals. Each puzzle contains an explainer to let you know about the game’s target age range and the lessons it aims to teach.

At the heart of the fun and games are the key messages that introduce young people to secure habits and help them navigate life online safely. In particular:

  • Create a strong password by combining three random words
  • All passwords need to be unique and each password only used for one account
  • Save passwords using a password manager
  • Keep devices up to date
  • Back up data in a separate safe location - for example cloud storage that you’ve protected with a strong password and two factor authentication, it could be Google Drive, or on removable media, such as USB stick, SD card, or external hard drive, that you keep in a safe place.

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Create a strong password by combining three random words

Inquisitive young players will learn things like why keeping their email account secure is so important, and why it’s worth adding extra layers of security to their accounts, just like closing and locking the front door of a house.

Our games and resources are aimed at 7 to 11-year-olds because this is an age when children often begin to seek more autonomy with their online accounts, perhaps to explore gaming, and often want to use their own email account to sign up for other online services, for example to explore the world of online shopping.

Young players learn why keeping their email account secure is so important

The NCSC’s CyberSprinters platform aims to encourage secure behaviour, ideally before certain habits that cyber criminals exploit (such as using the same password for more than one app/device) have been established. It also helps children develop their ‘digital resilience’, so they’re better prepared to cope with the challenges of the online world.

We’ll be publishing more resources for 11 to 14-year-olds later in the year, so do visit the NSCS to learn more.

Have fun, and get Cybersprinting!

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