Digital Literacy Framework - Grades 4-6

Students in the junior grades lack sufficient critical thinking skills to surf the Web alone, but MediaSmarts’ Young Canadians in a Wired World research shows that almost a third never or rarely use the Internet with an adult nearby.

Because they are spending more unsupervised time online, these students need guidance about Internet safety and protection of privacy, and they also need to be taught about good citizenship and responsible Internet use.

As more of their school work requires Internet research, this is also a good time to teach students skills for conducting effective research and for authenticating online content including recognizing marketing messages, bias and stereotyping.

Students at this age are highly active in games and virtual environments, where they need to learn to apply empathy to their online interactions and to resist “upselling” techniques in those environments as well as to manage the amount of time they spend online.

Children this age are also increasingly sensitive to messages about body image and gender norms that they get from media, including digital media, and need help in engaging with these.

Young Canadians in a Wired World backgrounders:
Profile of Kids in Grades 4-5
Profiles of Kids in Grades 6-7


Ethics and Empathy iconPrivacy and Security iconCommunity Engagement iconDigital Health iconConsumer Awareness iconFinding and VerifyingMaking and Remixing icon


A Day in the Life of the Jos
Grades: 6-8

In this licensed educational game, students help the brother and sister team Jo and Josie with situations they encounter online as they go about a typical day in their lives. The modules are represented as five days in the lives of Jo and Josie, covering topics that research has identified as being important for youth: defusing drama (cyberbullying), data privacy, privacy and reputation, privacy ethics and authenticating online information.

Avatars and Body Image
Grades: 4-6

In this lesson students are introduced to the concept of “avatars” and share their experiences creating and playing avatars in video games and virtual worlds.

Behaving Ethically Online: Ethics and Empathy
Grades: 4-6

In this lesson students are introduced to the idea that “hot” emotional states such as anger or excitement can make it harder for them to control how they act. They also discuss the concept of empathy and look at the ways in which digital communication can make it harder to feel empathy for other people.

Break the Fake: What’s Real Online?
Grades: 3-5 

In this lesson, students are introduced to the challenges of identifying what is real and what is fake online. After learning some simple steps to verify online information they create a poster that communicates the importance of questioning and double-checking online content. 

Break the Fake Lesson Plan: Verifying Information Online
Grades: 6-9

In this lesson, students participate in a workshop that teaches them four quick, easy steps to verify online information. After practicing these four steps they create a public service announcement aimed at teaching one of these steps and spreading the message that it is necessary for everyone to fact-check information we see online every time we are going to share it or act on it.

Cyber Choices
Grades: 3-5

Cyber Choices is an interactive game designed to help students in grades 3 to 5 develop the skills and habits they need to make safe and responsible choices online. Delivered in an engaging online comic-book format (with accompanying audio to support developing readers), Cyber Choices lets students explore four different stories that cover key issues such as making good choices about their own and others’ personal information, dealing with cyberbullying (as both a target and a witness) and managing online conflict. 

Data Defenders
Grades: 4-6

This interactive game teaches children and pre-teens the concept of personal information and its economic value, and introduces them to ways to manage and protect their personal information on the websites and apps they enjoy.

Data Defenders: Understanding data collection online
Grades: 4-6

In this lesson, students explore the concepts relating to data collection that are introduced in the educational game Data Defenders. The lesson will underscore for students the idea that their data is valuable and worthy of careful management by analyzing the platforms, applications and websites they

Editing Emotions
Grades: 5-9

In this lesson, students learn about the history of film editing and how shot composition, juxtaposition of images and the use of rhythm and repetition in film editing can affect the emotional impact of a film.

Game Time
Grades: 4-6

In this lesson students consider the positive aspects of video games as well as the ways in which games may take time away from other activities they enjoy. Students are introduced to the idea of balancing game and screen time with other parts of their lives and learn about the reasons why they may be tempted to spend more time playing games or find it difficult to stop playing.

Getting the Toothpaste Back into the Tube: A Lesson on Online Information
Grades: 6-8

In this lesson, students watch a short video that compares getting rid of personal information online to getting toothpaste back into a tube. After a short discussion of how visual analogies like this work, students discuss the meaning of the video (that information online is permanent.) They then read a series of short scenarios that help them identify four further principles of information online: that it can be copied, that it can be seen by unintended audiences, that it can be seen by larger audiences than intended, and that it becomes searchable.

Introduction to Cyberbullying: Avatars and Identity
Grades: 5-6

In this lesson students are provided with opportunities to explore the ways that digital media leave out many of the cues that prompt us to feel empathy and discuss the importance of using empathy and common sense when talking to others online.

Know the Deal: The Value of Privacy
Grades: 6-8

In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea that privacy is a fundamental human right and that their personal information is valuable.

Passport to the Internet: Student tutorial for Internet literacy (Grades 4-8)
Grades: 4-8

This licensed interactive tutorial teaches students the critical thinking skills they need to apply to their online experiences, including online safety, authenticating online information, recognizing online marketing ploys, protecting their privacy, managing online relationships and dealing with cyberbullying.

Pay For Play
Grades: 4-6

In this lesson students discuss their experiences playing free online games and then learn the costs of these “free” games in the form of paying with money, sharing personal information or providing attention to advertising or branded content.

Privacy Playground: The First Adventure of the Three CyberPigs
Grades: 3-5

In this game the CyberPigs play on their favourite website and encounter marketing ploys, spam and a close encounter with a not-too-friendly wolf. The purpose of the game is to teach kids how to spot online marketing strategies, protect their personal information and avoid online predators.

Privacy Pirates: An Interactive Unit on Online Privacy (Ages 7-9)
Grades: 2-4

This tutorial introduces children to the concept of online privacy and teaches them to distinguish between information that is appropriate to give out and information better kept private – and to recognize how this may change in different contexts.

Stay on the Path Lesson One: Searching for Treasure
Grades: 5-6

This four-lesson unit on search skills and critical thinking teaches students how to target and specify their online searches to avoid unwanted results, how to judge whether a link, search result or website is legitimate or phony and how to find legitimate sources online for media works such as music, videos and movies. In this first lesson students learn how to create well-defined search strings and to use tools and techniques such as bookmarking, browser filters and search engine preferences to avoid unwanted material.

Stay on the Path Lesson Two: All That Glitters is Not Gold
Grades: 5-6

In the second lesson in the Stay on the Path lesson unit, students learn how to authenticate online information by comparing “facts” from the website with more authoritative sources.

Stay on the Path Lesson Three: Treasure Maps
Grades: 5-6

In the third lesson in the Stay on the Path unit, students apply what they have learned in the first two lessons to find and verify information online.

Stay on the Path Lesson Four: Scavenger Hunt
Grades: 5-6

In the fourth lesson in the Stay on the Path unit, students apply their searching and critical thinking skills to learn how to find legitimate online sources for downloading and streaming movies, music and videos.

Teaching TV: Film Production: Who Does What?
Grades: 1-6

In this lesson, students look at the equipment used to produce television and film, and learn about the members of the film production team and their duties.

The Hero Project: Authenticating Online Information
Grades: 4-8

In this lesson students are introduced to Internet search skills through researching a personal hero. By focusing on the early parts of the research process, students learn to select well-defined topics, ask relevant research questions and select effective keywords.

Understanding the Internet Lesson 1: Using the Internet
Grades: 4-6

This four lesson unit looks at what the Internet is, how information travels online and how to use the Internet safely for a variety of purposes with a focus on communications. In the first lesson students explore their own experiences with online activities, build a common vocabulary of online-related terminology and identify purposes and methods of online interactions from the user’s perspective.

Understanding the Internet Lesson 2: Pathways and Addresses
Grades: 4-6

In the second lesson in the Understanding the Internet unit, students gain a greater understanding of how messages are sent and received over the Internet.

Understanding the Internet Lesson 3: Build Understanding
Grades: 4-6

In the third lesson in the Understanding the Internet unit students identify and classify their own interactions with the Internet and will engage in a collaborative critical thinking activity that will have them examine the Internet from a variety of perspectives.

Understanding the Internet Lesson 4: Communication and Social Media
Grades: 4-6

In the fourth lesson in the Understanding the Internet unit, students compare and contrast a variety of online social networking platforms and build an understanding of how they work to share messages. They will reflect on basic online rules and explore concepts of safety and privacy when accessing and sharing information online.

Winning the Cyber Security Game
Grades: 5-8

In this lesson students discuss their online experiences and learn how to minimize the potential risks that may be associated with them.