Designing an algorithm that can influence children’s behaviour online and raise their cyber security awareness.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Namibia University of Science and Technology


The Internet offers children incredible opportunities by enhancing their communication, social connections and technical skills. But it can't just guarantee them a secure environment. With no experience and knowledge, children's behaviours potentially expose them to cyber criminals as they share information innocently and become friends with strangers. Cyber security threats are highly present in social media and many people don't know about them. In particular, children voluntarily reveal personal and private details about themselves from which cybercrimes can emerge either in their real world or in the virtual world, if this shared information ends up in the wrong hands. This is most likely due to previous knowledge or exposure of the children on the Internet. This study sought to examine the online habits and actions of children who are vulnerable to cybercrimes and evaluated suitable behaviour influencing tools for children’s online activities. Employing a design science research method began with a comprehension of the problem. This was achieved by analysing the literature and the research findings that were self-constructed, as well as the use of open-ended questionnaires and close-ended questions. Once the problem was identified, the next step was to identify ideas which could solve the problem. These ideas were taken from the domains which were considered important to solve the problem. The behaviour influencing algorithm was then designed and evaluated following the literature and persuasion theory, as a solution to overcome the children’s insecure behaviour problem online. The vital contribution of the research is that it can benefit children that will be introduced to this algorithm by influencing and assisting them on how to securely behave online. In addition, the thesis provides contributions to the knowledge base by identifying and analysing the online activities and behaviours of children which can expose children to cybercrimes and it also provided some guidelines on how to influence children’s online behaviour, which can be used elsewhere in the world.



Child Online Activities, Child Online Behaviour, Online Exposure, Cybercrimes, Influencing Algorithm, Cybersecurity Awareness


Kavikairiua, J. (2020). Designing an algorithm that can influence children’s behaviour online and raise their cyber security awareness. (Unpublished master's thesis). Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek.