Teaching Internet Safety and Security – Creating Secure Passwords (a cross-curricular lesson)


Online safety is an important issue for everyone to engage with and passwords are of particular importance as they provide a line of defence against hackers, fraudsters and others who would seek to gain access to files or assume an identity belonging to someone else. For younger pupils, sharing passwords is all too common. Many children talk about sharing their password as a sign of true friendship.

Teachers can help their pupils use the Internet safely by teaching them some basic rules. One of them is to keep their passwords secret. Passwords can stop other people from seeing your private information or pretending to be you.

When pupils get older they use passwords to keep track of their money or to shop online. Knowing how to create secure passwords will help them keep their money safe as well as their personal information and their online reputation.

As a teacher who regularly uses ICT into my teaching,  I do feel responsible for my pupils’ safety and security online. This is the reason why I have decided to integrate online safeguarding into the English curriculum and create several lesson plans on the same topic.

The lesson plan provided here is meant for pupils aged 11-14 and can be used by those teachers interested in teaching English using a cross-curricular approach. It is focused on creating secure passwords and aims to enhance pupils’ understanding of the importance of passwords and of keeping them safe, as well as to provide them with practice in identifying strategies and creating secure passwords.

Apart from step-by-step teaching instructions and learning activities, the lesson plan includes background information for creating secure passwords as well as a link to an online password evaluation tool that can be used by pupils in order to check the strength of their passwords.

The above-mentioned lesson plan has been featured on the Ins@fe portal (a European network of Awareness Centres promoting safe, responsible use of the Internet and mobile devices to young people) within the “Back to School Campaign”.


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