How To Explain Cybersecurity To A 5-year Old

How To Explain Cybersecurity To A 5-year Old

When asked to explain cybersecurity to a 5-year old, you would be baffled and wonder how you’ll go about explaining the term cybersecurity well enough for a five-year-old to understand. It becomes more challenging if you do not have a good understanding of what cybersecurity means and the threat it poses.

This post explains cybersecurity using real-life security situations easily understandable.

What Is Cybersecurity?

What Is Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is the act of protecting computers, smartphones, internet-enabled electronics, servers, networks, and data from cyber threats and attacks.

To a 5-year old, we can compare cybersecurity to a situation where you seek protection for yourself, families, and properties from the police against bad guys like armed robbers, hired assassins, criminals, spies, pickpockets, etc. who are out there to harm you.

Internet-enabled electronics include smart TVs, home security devices, electronic readers, etc., while servers and networks are groups of computers connected together to render specific functions like storing and sharing files and data, manage your emails, connect you to the internet, etc.

Your data is the personal information you have inputted into your computer or on the internet. Your data can be your financial details, files you store on your computers, or basic information about you. Data is like digital gold sought after by the good and bad guys and advertising companies which want to use your data to serve you with adverts.

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In the same vein, cybersecurity is seeking protection for your devices against bad guys who use various means to steal data from you, hold your data or computer to ransom, or cause damages to your devices.

Even if you were able to explain cybersecurity to a 5-year old, it is imperative to reveal the types of cyber threats that exists.

Types Of Cyberthreats

1. Cybercrime


Cybercrime is a term that describes crimes committed using computers, electronic devices, and networks. Cybercrime can be for financial gains or politically motivated.

Additionally, cybercrime can be compared to real-world crime situations involving the deliberate act of committing offenses punishable by laws such as murder, stealing from governments and corporations, disrupting social peace, shoplifting, sexual offenses, etc.

Therefore, a person who uses a computer or electronic devices to commit a crime is known as a cybercriminal.

2. Cyberattack

A cyberattack is an attack launched against computers, networks, servers, and internet-enabled devices using computers, more like the bad guys using computers to attack other computers or networks to conquer or gain control of the computers’ resources.

Cyberattacks can be politically or financially motivated. In the real world, we can liken cyberattacks to the good guys fighting the bad guys with guns, swords, etc., or the US military fighting terrorists.

Common types of cyberattacks include:



Malware means malicious software programs written to attack computers, software, and data. Malware is spread through email links or files attached to email messages, downloading from untrusted websites, etc.

Malware can steal data from computers, networks, and servers or even cause various degrees of damage, including frequent crashes and irreparable damage to hardware parts. You can liken malware attacks to various strategies used by bad guys to invade people’s homes or offices in the real world.


A virus is a type of malware that attaches itself to a program on your computer. The virus is activated, and it is spread to other programs on your computer when you run the infected software or app.

In the real world, you can compare a virus to a bad guy hiding and waiting for you to open your door unknowingly for it to sneak in and cause harm to you and your family.


These are malware that are disguised as software that appears useful. E.g., they seem like software you can use as a screensaver, antivirus, gaming software, updates, etc.

Once installed, they steal your data or cause damage to your computer. You can liken Trojans to the bad guys who disguise themselves as technicians, cleaners, or babysitters to gain access into your house; once you admit them in, they steal valuables without you knowing.


Spyware is a malware that records your actions, such as typing in your credit card details, emails, and passwords, and transmits it via the internet to the hacker who designed it. You can liken spyware to spies who watch your activities and tail you around without you knowing.


These are malware designed to lock or encrypt data or files on your computer and demand money before unlocking or decrypting such files. They are likened to the real-world kidnappers who kidnap individuals and ask to be paid a certain amount of cash before such individuals regain their freedom.


Cryptojackers are malware that uses your computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrencies. They are likened to the bad guys forcing other humans to work for them against their will, usually at gunpoint.


Phishing is a type of attack where the attackers send emails with links that redirects you to a fake website.

Usually, the redirected website can look like the original version of your bank website or online shops where you order goods and services.

The website steals your financial information when you log in. A Phishing attempt is likened to a conman or con artist who deceives you into buying fake products or parting away with your money.

How To Protect Yourself From Cybersecurity Attacks

How To Protect Yourself From Cybersecurity Attacks

  1. Keep your software and operating systems updated regularly
  2. Use recommended antivirus programs. Antivirus programs are like police and other good guys that protect you from the bad guys;  the police make the society safer for us to live, so antivirus keeps our computers and data safe and protected.
  3. Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess, easy to remember
  4. Do not open email attachments or click on links in emails from unknown sources
  5. Download only from trusted sites and software stores
  6. Connect only to Wi-Fi networks in a secured environment

Bottom Line

In conclusion, it is quite easy to explain cybersecurity to a 5-year old.

The best way to protect your computer is by using an antivirus solution that can keep your computers and networks protected from all types of cyberthreats and attacks, including viruses trojans, cryptojackers, ransomware, worms, spyware, etc., and also protect you from phishing attacks.