Russian Schoolchildren vs. Cyber Threats: Research in the Framework of Modern Childhood Digitalization



The paper aims to explore the behavior of Russian school-age children who are faced with a new social and psychological phenomenon: threats associated with the digital environment. Our focus was on the ability (psychological as well as technical) of teenagers to stand against cyber threats. At the preliminary stage of the research we analysed both Russian and international studies on how to promote cyber security awareness among school children and, in particular, how to respond to the cyber threats associated with the new social context formed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We used survey research as the main method and designed a special questionnaire that was then offered to a group of 7—11-grade students (N=5,682) from seven Russian regions in the late 2020. The research data was processed using the SPSS and STATISTICA programmes. The data allowed us to assess the degree in which the children were familiar with the methods and means of protecting sensitive personal information, as well as their ability to stand against cyber threats basing on their knowledge and skills. The research also helped us to identify the role of schools in promoting the children’s readiness for the modern digital reality. The typical shortcomings in the digital competences of school-age children are noteworthy here too, first of all, the ones concerning the knowledge of cyber risk types related to the use of social media and internet communication services. We conclude that there is a need for systemic measures on various levels of education that would help reduce the cyber risks for adolescents on the social media and promote the quality of digital competence development in Russian schools.

General Information

Keywords: digitalization of childhood, E-safety, cyberbullying, children on the Internet, digital skills, cyber risks.

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. This paper was prepared as part of the state project of the Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution «Institute of Education Management of the Russian Academy of Education» with financial support from the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation.

Acknowledgements. The authors are grateful to the staff of the Institute of Education Management of the Russian Academy of Education for their assistance in data collection.

For citation: Skobeltsina K.N., Kuznetsov A.N., Beshenkov S.A. Russian Schoolchildren vs. Cyber Threats: Research in the Framework of Modern Childhood Digitalization. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie = Psychological Science and Education, 2021. Vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 43–53. DOI: 10.17759/pse.2021260404. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Ksenia N. Skobeltsina, PhD in Psychology, Academic Secretary, Leading Researcher, Center for Educa- tional Systems Management, Institute of Education Management, Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Andrei N. Kuznetsov, PhD in Education, Associate Professor, Deputy Director for Research, Head of Center for Educational Systems Management, Institute of Education Management of the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Sergey A. Beshenkov, Doctor of Physics and Matematics, Professor, Chief Researcher, Center for Content and Teaching Methods, Institute of Education Management, Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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