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Published Online: 1 October 2016

Enhancing Primary School Children's Knowledge of Online Safety and Risks with the CATZ Cooperative Cross-Age Teaching Intervention: Results from a Pilot Study

Publication: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume 19, Issue Number 10


Children are heavy users of the Internet and prior studies have shown that many of them lack a good understanding of the risks of doing so and how to avoid them. This study examined if the cross-age teaching zone (CATZ) intervention could help children acquire important knowledge of online risks and safety. It allowed older students to act as CATZ tutors to design and deliver a lesson to younger schoolmates (tutees), using content material about online risks and safety provided by adults. Students in Year 6 (mean age = 11.5 years) were randomly assigned to act as either CATZ tutors (n = 100) or age-matched controls (n = 46) and students in Year 4 (mean age = 9.5 years) acted as either CATZ tutees (n = 117) or age-matched controls (n = 28) (total N = 291). CATZ tutors, but not matched controls scored significantly higher on objective measures of knowledge of both online risks and safety, and CATZ tutees, but not matched controls did so for online safety. Effect sizes were moderate or large. CATZ was highly acceptable to participants. The results suggest that CATZ is a viable way to help school students learn about online dangers and how to avoid them.

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Published In

cover image Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume 19Issue Number 10October 2016
Pages: 609 - 614


Published in print: October 2016
Published online: 1 October 2016


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    Michael J. Boulton
    Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, England.
    Louise Boulton
    Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, England.
    Eleonora Camerone
    Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, England.
    James Down
    Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, England.
    Joanna Hughes
    Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, England.
    Chloe Kirkbride
    Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, England.
    Rachel Kirkham
    Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, England.
    Peter Macaulay
    Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, England.
    Jessica Sanders
    Department of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, England.


    Address correspondence to:Dr. Michael J. BoultonDepartment of PsychologyUniversity of ChesterParkgate RoadChester CH1 4BJEngland
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Author Disclosure Statement

    No competing financial interests exist.

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