The impact of financial deprivation on children's cybersecurity knowledge & abilities

Prior, Suzanne and Renaud, Karen (2022) The impact of financial deprivation on children's cybersecurity knowledge & abilities. Education and Information Technologies, 27 (8). pp. 10563-10583. ISSN 1573-7608 (

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Online users require a working knowledge of password "best practice'", as well as the ability to apply such knowledge. Children increasingly operate as independent agents online, and thus also need to be aware of password "best practice''. To meet this need, the Scottish curriculum for excellence includes lessons about password "best practice''. Hence, all Scottish children ought, theoretically, to have similar levels of password-related knowledge. They ought also, by age 8-9, to be able to apply their knowledge. One factor that could deter password-related knowledge acquisition and skill development is financial deprivation. To gauge its impact, we assessed the knowledge and abilities of Scottish 8-9 year old children, in four primary schools, in areas of varying financial deprivation. We uncovered stark differences in knowledge and password retention. There is a clear need for an extra-curricular intervention programme to teach up-to-date password "best practice'" and support in developing the required password management skills. This will reduce their online vulnerabilities, whatever their socio-economic background.