Online Safety and Privacy

Close up of computer keyboard with the largest key's text changed to "safety"
The skills required to stay safe, legal and confident online
Jigsaw graphic with the text Top tip

Online safety should be mentioned in every Digital Champion session


The five key online safety skills, as defined in the UK government’s Essential Digital Skills Framework, are:

  • Password security​ – able to use different and secure passwords
  • Able to respond to requests for authentication of own online accounts and email
  • Able to set privacy settings​
  • Able to identify secure websites (e.g. by looking for padlock/https in address bar)
  • Able to recognise suspicious links​ (e.g. in emails, social media, pop-ups)

Biggest Issue

Some people do not want to go online at all because of their safety concerns

Solution

Use comparisons on how to stay safe in the real world


  • People find it difficult/impossible to remember multiple & complex passwords
  • People ignore safety as unsure what to do
  • People don’t know how to protect their personal privacy
  • Digital Champions can be unsure about how to include online safety messages
  • Digital Champions and learners are overwhelmed by different messages about online safety
  • People want to be always connected​/ don’t log out properly/ convenience wins over security/ forget​/ don’t see the consequences​
  • Costs of security – financial & effort​
  • People delegate responsibility​ (e.g. assume service provider protects them)
  • Downplaying risks​/ people don’t believe they are susceptible
  • People over-estimate their ability to respond​

Jigsaw graphic for what to teach learners about online safety = Password manager; Device security; 2-factor authentication; Identifying safe websites; Privacy settings; Email safety.

Top tips for Digital Champions

  • Listen to and acknowledge learners’ fears and concerns
  • Talk about online safety in all sessions & look for opportunities to safely demonstrate key online safety skills when teaching other digital skills
  • Don’t use scare stories that will discourage someone from going online at all, instead use comparisons with how to stay safe in the real world (see examples below)
  • Use language about online safety and privacy which it is easy for learners to understand
  • Concentrate on the five key online safety skills (password security, 2-factor authentication, privacy settings, identifying secure websites, recognising suspicious links)
  • Ask for training, or look at the resources below if you need help building your own skills on online safety
  • Provide notes/handouts on key safety messages
  • Recommend specific apps and software that are free and easy to use
  • Include information on simple device safety (e.g. adding a lock code; installing anti-virus software)

Digital Champions can use these to talk about fears people have about being online
OfflineOnline
Burglars look for easy access points
(e.g. if your windows & doors are locked they target an easier house)
=>Hackers look for easy access points
(e.g. if your passwords are strong & you ignore phishing emails, they target someone else)
You would check and verify who someone was before trusting them=>Check and verify who people are before trusting them online
Some people (and especially tabloids) tend to scaremonger about dangers & risks in life=>Some people (and especially tabloids) tend to scaremonger about dangers & risks online
You wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked=>Don’t leave your phone/computer unlocked
You wouldn’t give strangers access to your pin number=>Don’t give strangers access to your passwords
You wouldn’t let a stranger lead you into an unknown place=>Don’t let a stranger lead you to follow an unknown link
You wouldn’t send your personal details to someone who had written to you=>Don’t send your personal details to someone who has emailed you
You would check the name & address on the letter if someone writes to you=>Check the name and email address if someone emails you
You would be wary of someone pressuring you into giving them moneyBe wary of someone pressuring you into giving them money, or access to your accounts
You would trust your instincts in life – if something felt wrong you would stop & ask for advice=>Trust your instincts online – if something feels wrong then stop & ask for advice

Top tips for project co-ordinators

  • The culture of the project should have a focus on embedding online safety in all activities, providing examples of how to be safe online
  • Highlight key safety messages you want your Digital Champions to share with learners, and train them how to do this
  • Listen to and acknowledge Digital Champions’ fears
  • Provide notes/handouts on key safety messages
  • Recommend specific safety software and apps that are free and easy to use
  • Keep your Digital Champions up-to-date with the latest advice on online safety & privacy, in a simple format
  • Projects working with particular groups, especially disadvantaged groups, should consider what the key safety priorities and risks are for their learners

Provide leadership to your Digital Champions on online safety
– Integrate online safety into all work
– Include messages about online safety in all work
– Repeat messages about importance of online safety
– Concentrate on the five key online safety skills (password security, 2-factor authentication, privacy settings, identifying secure websites, recognising suspicious links)
– Build security messages into any new apps and online services​ you develop
– Online safety is so big a topic that, to keep messages simple, you may want to recommend specific software (e.g. LastPass for managing passwords)

Tailor your messages about online safety
– Concentrate on the five key online safety skills (password security, 2-factor authentication, privacy settings, identifying secure websites, recognising suspicious links)
– Include information on device safety (e.g. adding a lock code; installing anti-virus software)
– Have a set of key safety priorities for Digital Champions to focus on, so they and learners don’t feel bombarded with too much information
– Keep messages on online safety short & simple
– Give support in a range of ways to meet the different learning styles of Digital Champions & learners to make messages about online safety as accessible as possible
– Don’t over-protect people or they will not gain the skills needed to stay safe online  (e.g. limiting what a DC or learner does online; putting in protections in place, like extra school or workplace security settings)
– Partners working with particular groups, especially disadvantaged groups, should consider what the key safety priorities and risks are for their learners

Training on online safety for Digital Champions
– Provide specific training for Digital Champions about online safety and privacy so they have the confidence to support others to stay safe online
– Be consistent about the advice you’re giving
– Include online safety in core Digital Champion training
– Concentrate on the five key online safety skills (password security, 2-factor authentication, privacy settings, identifying secure websites, recognising suspicious links)
– Help Champions to understand the possible fears of their learners about online safety and security and how these may act as a barrier to getting online
– Repeat online safety training & messages
– Include specific training on how to recognise phishing & scams; how to check email address of suspicious emails; never to click on suspicious links
– Provide notes/handouts on key safety messages
– Keep Champions updated about the latest advice on online safety and privacy

Reassure Digital Champions
– Listen to Digital Champions’ own fears about online safety and security
– Acknowledge that the fears & concerns (of Digital Champions and their learners) can feel overwhelming​
– Digital Champions need confidence to be able to be confident with learners
– Digital Champions need to be supported to have confidence
– Use real life analogies as examples to help Digital Champions to overcome their fears
– Empower Digital Champions by encouraging them to use real life analogies with learners
– The volume of information on online safety can be overwhelming, remind Digital Champions to concentrate on the five key online safety Essential Digital Skills
– Repeat online safety training & messages


Examples of password managers & device security software

  • Lastpass – Password locker to securely store all passwords in one place
  • Basic device security, often forgotten by new users, is to lock device when not in use & to set an unlock code
  • Sophos Home Free – free security software to block known viruses, malware and ransomware
  • Sophos Home Premium – security software to block advanced viruses, malware and ransomware attacks
  • McAfee WebAdvisor – free software to protect from malware and phishing
  • Kapersky – security and anti-virus software for PC, Mac & mobile
  • McAfee Total Protection – software with full antivirus, identity and privacy protection

Jigsaw graphic with the text Top tip

Many internet service providers give free, or reduced price, anti-virus software as part of their package


Video & podcast resources



Jigsaw graphic with the text Top tip

Online safety should be mentioned in every Digital Champion session

such a key tip that we’ve mentioned it twice 😉


Many thanks to our research partners Centre for Ageing Better and Good Things Foundation who contributed to developing the learning on this topic, plus all the project partners who joined our online learning seminars and shared their experiences of best practice