Cyber Choices 28th January 2020

More and more teenagers and young people are getting involved in cyber crime. Many do it for fun without realising the consequences of their actions – but the penalties can be severe. Cyber crime isn’t a victimless crime and is taken extremely seriously by law enforcement.

Teachers, parents and education settings can help young people in a variety of ways by knowing and talking about the following:

  • Understand what cyber crime is. It can include DDoS attacks, introducing malware and getting unauthorised access to systems. These are the three most common forms of cyber crime conducted by young people (and often on their own schools or colleges)
  • Understand the consequences. Cyber crime is a serious criminal offense under the Computer Misuse Act. It can mean:
    • A visit and warning from police or NCA officers
    • Computers being seized and being prevented from accessing the internet
    • A penalty or fine
    • Being arrested
    • Up to life in prison for the most serious offences
    • A permanent criminal record could affect education and future career prospects, as well as potential future overseas travel.


  • How skills in cyber security, if used positively, can lead to a successful career. There is currently a skills shortage in cyber security, so it makes sense to use any knowledge to get on the career ladder.
  • Develop good cyber skills in your young people through supported programmes such as:
    • Cyber Security Challenge – a series of national competitions, learning programmes and networking in coding and programming.
    • GCHQ Careers – Here you can find out about what jobs with the tech industry your skills match, there are job profile too where GCHQ staff talk about what they get up to in their role. You can also find out more about GCHQ’s Cyber First programme for University Students, Apprenticeships and Summer Schools for teenagers.
    • Video Game Ambassadors – Part of UKIE (UK Interactive Entertainment), learn what it is like to become a game developer or how to get a job in the gaming industry.
  • Finally, here are some lesson plans that you can use to support your work in the classroom

Here is an interesting video produced by NCA to highlight the Cyber Choices programme #CyberChoices