In light of Australia becoming a global target for cyber attacks, cyber security experts are urging for changes to the education curriculum, which would see children as young as five taught good security practices.
While a new Australian curriculum has laid out an increased emphasis on practising better online safety and security literacy, Dr Nicola Johnson of the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre has pointed out a disparity between the changes and the centre’s recommended cyber skills.
“We need to start early with five-year-olds … there is a need to educate people from a young age to protect themselves from common cyber security threats,” said Johnson.
Johnson has acknowledged that an increased focus on privacy and security in the new curriculum is a step in the right direction but more has to be done.
“Children need to be not just cyber safe — it’s not enough — they need to be cyber secure,” she said.
The new curriculum teaches students safe practices such as safe online browsing and how to set strong passwords, but it contains gaps in knowledge such as backing up information, using anti-virus software, social media practices and more.
Johnson has said that the “ownership of devices is increasingly becoming younger and younger”, adding fuel to her argument of teaching good practices at a much younger age. Currently, many of these behaviours aren’t taught until secondary school and are often kept unique to elective subjects.
The push for a focus on cyber security practices has come as a result of a slew of security breaches on major companies such as Medicare and Optus.