Cyber security is a topic that affects us all in the modern society and we need to be mindful of how we prepare our young children for the technology rich world they are growing up with. Whilst the wonderful world of technology is a treasure trove of information and entertainment we do need to be aware that an open book to the world brings good and potential bad influences into our lives. Our children are privileged to be growing up with all the benefits technology has given us. Let them immerse themselves into the modern era with your guidance and counsel. Like all learning, the best base is put down early on, so even if you have young children, the time to start cyber security messages with your children is NOW!
The pressure on children and adults to ensure safety for everyone on the internet is a big task and we would like to thank Kayelene from WA Child Safety Services for her expert council and advice.WA Child Safety Services (WACSS) is Western Australia’s specialist provider of child safety education and training. They work with children, young people, parents, educators and other professionals to create safer communities. They believe that protecting children from harm is a shared responsibility for the family, the community and professionals. Empowering children, adults and organisations creates safer communities. For more information on WA Child Safety Services go to https://wachildsafetyservices.comand follow their facebook page for day-to-day updates and advice.
What can you do?
Three hugely protective factors are your supervision, education and conversation.There are simply not enough resources in the world to keep our children safe. Would you want your child to have one on one care and protection? Then you need to arm yourself to be that protector for them.
Keeping devices in open common areas of your home, listening and watching what your children are exposed to is a massive factor in protecting our children.
Education about what is out there and what is appropriate. Keep your self up to date with the newest technology.
Conversation is key. Keeping those lines of communication open so children know they can come to you when they need to.
What is technology replacing or displacing?
Keep in mind the use of technology with what is replacing or displacing from another endeavor. Balance is so important. Children need time outside running around and they also need time inside on technology with all the benefits available for our modern children.
Bedrooms should be technology free
All devices are so addictive for children they are tempted to play with them all the time. Think of it this way. Would you be able to resist the temptation of your favourite wine/chocolate/cheese if it was next to your bed? Another very important factor is that each device has a camera. Do you want your children’s bedroom open for the world to see? Their bedrooms are private areas and need to be safe.
Eyes, body and brain
Think of the effects on your eyes, body and brain. This means looking after your eyes especially when being on a device at night. Use the nightshift mode, which changes the back light from blue to yellow so as not to affect your bodies melatonin levels. Also be mindful of the distance you are focusing on. Proximity to the eyes to the screen can affect your vision. What sort of images and ideas are you exposing your brain to? What are the effects of screen time on your posture, especially during those growth years.
20, 20, 20 Rule
A good way to remember to take breaks is the rule of twenty minutes of screen time, look up for twenty seconds, over a distance of 20 feet (6 meters)
Self-regulation is the ultimate goal
Aim for self-regulation and not to rely on an adult policing time. The aim is not to catch children out, we need to teach them to mange their time and make good choices, just like any other activity. Be careful when setting time limits as things like games and you tube do not follow your times set. Rather aim for a number of episodes, once you have checked their length. Similar to when you read bedtime stories to your children when they were little.
Try not to use technology devices as punishment
These days these devices are a window onto the world of learning and fun. It is especially important that children won’t be scared to tell you if they have inadvertently come across inappropriate content and that you won’t take their device away. Tell your children these things do happen and give them strategies to deal with it when and if they do come across something inappropriate. In the similar way you would help them if they are playing with any toy that has proved challenging or inappropriate. By taking away a device as punishment it also elevates that device’s importance in that child’s world. We need to be mindful that these devices are part of our children’s world, not the only thing in the child’s world. Devices are highly addictive and it can be easy to dive into the device world and find it very hard to put down and ‘get off the grid’ for a while.
Start cyber safety early
Try to delay your children’s reliance on devices. Make your decisions right for your family. It is easier to delay rather that take away devices once your children are used to them. Whilst you are in the phase of life where children enjoy you reading stories, enjoy that teachable moment to being in books that speak of cyber security. This is a great way for children to grow up with good messages as part of their daily lives, similar to how our children are growing up knowing the importance of wearing sunscreen every day.
Posting content on social media
Know that the very best software filter is between your child’s ears. Teach them how to think critically about what they see and do. When posting content on social media distinguish between public versus private images and content. We are teaching our children that the areas covered by their bathers are private, they really should not be posting these private area’s on any form of media. This messages stays consistent with what we taught them when they were younger. A great question to ask is: Would you want your parents/ principal/police or public to see it. Once it is online it can never be rescinded. For older children ask: Would you want parents/principal/public/police/future partner/potential partner/pedophile to see it? Picture it up on the screens at Optus stadium. Once children get to the age of posting on social media they need to be aware of what’s illegal and what’s against the law.
Parental control technology
You can install parental controls on devices, apps and search engines. A good filter is ‘family zone’ which controls devices through the cloud, so this protection travels with your child’s device and will keep working while they are out. A word of caution though, don’t rely on these controls, Nothing is iron clad.
Have a plan
Have a plan for how to deal with seeing illegal, offensive or inappropriate content. Teach your children what to do. Speak with them about what hey could do. Come and tell someone, turn it off or walk away, as you would discuss with them what to do if they get lost in a public space.
Getting the right advice
The Office of the Safety Commissioneris a great site that has help and advice for teachers and parents. You can look up specific advice for apps and all other media. This is a great tool when your little ones come to you with a ‘can I have the latest app’ question. Most social media apps have an official age limit of 13 years old. This can help you to justify your decisions that are right for your family.
Kids College support KIDS Foundation and the SeeMore safety program
We educate and empower children to live safely and create a better life for those affected by serious trauma, injury or burns.
Every day the team at the KIDS Foundation devotes time and resources to empowering and educating children and their families on ways to prevent injuries and trauma associated with events that put children in dangerous situations. That is how KIDS gets its acronym – ‘Kids In Dangerous Situations’.
The KIDS Foundation has been operating since 1993, with a number of highly successful programs making a significant positive impact on the lives of many children and their families.
KIDS occupies a unique position as a national leader in childhood injury prevention and injury recovery and is one of the few organisations of its kind committed to creating and instilling a culture of safety among young people with its integrated approach to safety education and rehabilitation.
The KIDS Foundation supports children who have experienced horrific injuries and trauma caused by burns, accidents, dog attacks, crime, neglect, abuse and environmental events, and educates and empowers children to prevent them, reaching 400,000 children each year.
SeeMore Safety Education Program
The SeeMore Safety education program is an internationally-recognised early year’s safety education program that focuses on learning through literature and real-life experiences. The program is aimed at 4 to 6 year old children and nurtures a ‘think safe, play safe’ attitude in kindergarten and preschool aged children.
It encourages students to assess their environment, identify safe and unsafe behaviours so that they can take responsibility for their own safety.
SeeMore Safety is research driven with data that supports its success. The SeeMore Safety program educates children about safe and unsafe behaviours which they encounter in everyday activities through literature and games and has an ongoing evaluation process.
By the end of 2020, thanks to funding from the Federal Government’s Department of Health, 400,000 take-home activity booklets and resource packs were distributed to 10,000 early childhood education centres around Australia.
The children interact with SeeMore Safety, the KIDS Foundation safety mascot in storybooks and participate in activities and games to learn about safe practices and injury risks. SeeMore takes children on a journey that focuses on lifelong safety conceptualisation.
- Develops the ability in children to take agency for their safety by identifying, acknowledging and responding in a calculated way to dangerous situations.
- Supports parents and members of the broader community to share in the learnings of the children undertaking the program.
SeeMore Safety Mascot
SeeMore Safety is the KIDS Foundation’s mascot. He is much loved by children and young people and is now in many kindergartens and preschools around Australia helping children to ‘think safe and be safe’.
SeeMore was created as a character by Dr Susie O’Neill, CEO and Founder of the KIDS Foundation, more than 20 years ago, to befriend children recovering from serious injuries and trauma. He was made to be given to children who were spending time in hospitals and fast became a friend who would help kids to feel safe.
Today, SeeMore features in the KIDS Foundation’s Safety Education books and resources. SeeMore is the one who takes children on a safety journey and helps kids to assess risks for themselves, identify dangerous situations and keep themselves, and others, safe.
Hi. My name is SeeMore Safety and I’m going to share with you how I got my name. When I was a kid, I liked to do lots of fun things and explore new places. My mum would say to me, “remember to make good choices, only take healthy risks and stay safe.”
I would say to my mum, “don’t worry mum, I think safe and play safe because I always use my eyes to SeeMore Safety.” That is how I got my name.
To help kids learn about safety, they need to know how they can tell what is safe and what is unsafe. Safe and unsafe mean different things to different people, but our feelings can help to tell us what is right for us. When kids feel safe, they have a good feeling inside and when they feel unsafe they have a bad feeling.
Good feelings come when kids make good choices and take healthy risks. Bad feelings come when they make bad choices and take unhealthy risks that could hurt themselves or someone else.
SeeMore safety this year eSafety
This year the KIDS Foundation was fortunate to receive a grant from the eSafety Commissioner to develop resources designed to help children learn more about eSafety. We have used this funding to develop a program called ‘Netys the Trusted eSafety Friend’ which includes;
An A4 book for teachers to share with children to discuss the different rules around eSafety
An A5 book with simple text for children to take home and read with an adult and share the eSafety messages in it
Included in both books are QR codes that then animate the eSafety messages to further reinforce the learning! In addition, we have also developed;
An eSafety teacher guide with activity ideas for the classroom
An eSafety lesson video
A virtual reality app that puts SeeMore in your very own environment
Kids College Philosophy
‘We have stringent hygiene, health, nutrition, maintenance, safety and protection standards. We take our duty of care very seriously and will safeguard the safety and wellbeing of our children at all times as a matter of utmost priority.’
National Quality Standard
2.2.3 Management, educators and staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities to identify and respond to every child at risk of abuse or neglect.
Kids College family
At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input.
Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Join our Kids College family community and share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on Jennifer@kidscollege.com.au
With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family