SOK : young children's cybersecurity knowledge, skills & practice : a systematic literature review

Lamond, Maria and Renaud, Karen and Wood, Lara and Prior, Suzanne; (2022) SOK : young children's cybersecurity knowledge, skills & practice : a systematic literature review. In: EuroUSEC '22: Proceedings of the 2022 European Symposium on Usable Security. ACM International Conference Proceeding Series . ACM, DEU, 14–27. ISBN 978-1-4503-9700-1 (

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The rise in children’s use of technology highlights the need for them to learn to act securely online. Cybersecurity skills require mature cognitive abilities which children only acquire after they start using technology. As such, this paper explores the guidance and current curriculum expectations on cybersecurity aspects in Scotland. A systematic review was undertaken of the literature pertaining to cybersecurity education for children. We discovered that most research focused on assessing children’s knowledge or investigating the efficacy of interventions to improve cybersecurity knowledge and practice. Very few investigated the skills required to carry out the expected cybsersecurity actions. For example, high levels of literacy, mature short- and long-term memory, attention, and established meta cognition are all pre-requisites to be able to carry out cybersecurity activities. Our main finding is that empirical research is required to explore the ages at which children have developed essential cognitive abilities and thereby the potential to master cybersecurity skills.