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

Maria L. Lamond*, Karen V. Renaud, Lara A. Wood, Suzanne Prior

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


The rise in children’s use of digital 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. Additionally, a systematic review was undertaken of the literature pertaining to cybersecurity education for children on a wider scale including papers from around the world, with 27 peer reviewed papers included in the final review. 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 cybersecurity 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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuroUSEC '22
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings of the 2022 European Symposium on Usable Security
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450397001
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2022
Event2022 European Symposium on Usable Security - Karlsruhe, Germany
Duration: 29 Sept 202230 Sept 2022


Conference2022 European Symposium on Usable Security
Abbreviated titleEuroUSEC 2022
Internet address


  • Children
  • Password practice
  • Authentication
  • Cognition
  • Education


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