Fun new eSafety resources for under fives
Fun new eSafety resources for under fives
As your preschooler delves deeper into the online world, it’s possible that their digital device will take them somewhere not-so-nice.
Funny videos can quickly become serious, online chats aren’t always child-friendly, and the majority of preschoolers aren’t naturally cautious about clicking pop-ups or sharing private information.
In fact, a study by eSafety consultant, Professor Susan Edwards, has found that 89 per cent of four-year-olds would click on a pop-up (even if they couldn’t read it and didn’t know what it was about), and 73 per cent said they’d tell someone their name and address online.
For these reasons, it’s very important to model good screen habits of your own, establish sound online safety rules, and talk about using screens safely from an early age.
The eSafety Early Years program offers practical resources to help you do this, and the eSafety Commissioner has recently released an online safety picture book and song to help you ‘start the chat’ about online safety, set family-friendly rules, and teach your child how to ask for help when using a digital device.
What’s the story?
The new picture book is called Swoosh, Glide and Rule Number 5, and this rhyming tale introduces your child to a cute family of sugar gliders who are engaging with technology.
The book highlights safe online practices, and lists five ‘special rules’ for the whole family to follow when using a digital device:
- ‘Be kind, take turns’
- ‘At dinner time, no screen’
- ‘Use it only in shared spaces’
- ‘Ask before you use a device’, and
- ‘No taking screens to bed’ (and that includes you, Mummy Sugar Glider!)
This book contrasts a positive video call with Grandma and Grandpa, with an upsetting stumble onto a ‘not nice or fun’ video; and under fives are encouraged to trust their instincts when something unexpected happens and ask their adult for help.
As Uncle Sugar Glider says, ‘If something’s not right while you’re on a device, go quickly to your grown-up and ask for advice.’
There are limited print copies available to order, but the easiest way to share this book with your child is by reading the desktop version, downloading it onto your device, or sharing storytime with Jimmy Giggle on YouTube.
What’s the song?
To help you make a song and dance about eSafety, the Swish and Glide picture book comes with a song called, My Family Rules.
This chirpy number was created by the Australian children’s entertainer, Lah-Lah, and it reinforces the four main online safety messages of the eSafety Early Years program:
- Be safe – This means helping your child understand the connected world and how they can protect their personal information.
- Be kind – This means showing your child how to be kind and respectful online and modelling good habits around device use and online sharing.
- Ask for help – This means teaching your child to ask for help and letting them know that they can come to you with any issue.
- Make good choices – This means helping your child to think critically about the content they watch and how they spend their time online.
What other Swoosh and Glide resources are there?
To encourage your child to act the part, the eSafety Commissioner has created Swoosh and Glide masks to colour and make.
They’ve also created a story puzzles book, which tells four stories that have online safety messages, and encourages your child to ‘put the pieces together’ literally and figuratively, with input from you.
Early childhood educators can also print out teaching posters and educator notes that guide under fives to be safe, be kind, ask for help and make good choices.
All of the above resources have been developed to help youngsters learn about online safety and develop positive attitudes and habits around technology use – now and as they grow.
The eSafety Commissioner says, ‘The key to establishing online safety as a life-long skill is to start talking about it early,’ so we encourage you to use their interactive resources as a launchpad for important conversations, and also read their practical tips about:
- Talking about online safety early
- Encouraging your child to ask for help
- Choosing good online content
- Tackling online safety issues from birth to five years, and
- Family tech agreements (which are useful from the age of three).
eSafety has also collaborated on Playing IT Safe. This website offers lots of play-based activities to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers understand digital technologies (these are designed for the early learning environment), and there are games to play at home, too.
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Tuesday, 15 June 2021
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