How to Teach Children’s Internet, eSafety and Cyber Safety

The eSafety for Kids education package is a whole-school approach to eSafety (cyber safety). Containing six lesson plans, a Take-It-Home Resource Pack for parents and School Facilitation Guide, it provides all a school needs to ensure kids are getting age-appropriate, consistent guidance on how to stay safe online.

The eSafety for Kids education package was developed in consultation with a team of experts, including a child and adolescent psychologist, education specialist, teachers, parents, and references the latest research and guidelines (at time of publication). It is designed to align with the recommendations in the Best Practice Framework for Online Safety Education (eSafety Commissioner).

Research tells us now is the time!

Research released by the eSafety Commission in 2021 indicates that Australian students spend around two hours per day online and have up to four social media accounts by the time they are teenagers. Along with this, three in 10 have experienced unwanted online contact from a stranger, and two in 10 have received unwanted content through their social media channels (eSafety Commissioner, 2021).

As they reach secondary school age, young people are likely to be spending more time online for educational purposes, connection with family and friends, and relaxation activities. This may result in young people being at higher risk of exploitation.

Younger students, especially those having grown up with devices and social media, are likely to feel comfortable sharing a lot of personal information online. They may not understand the potential for unwanted contact that this can create.

Although it can be challenging to consider in the primary years, teachers and parents must provide children with opportunities to identify where there may be risks when participating in online activities and feel comfortable reporting tricky people and situations. The eSafety for Kids is the just-in-time learning your students need to keep them safe as they navigate adolescence.


I’m a school, and I want to get my community involved

Access the School Facilitation Guide to learn how to create a whole-school approach to eSafety and get your wider community on board.

Including an email template to parents, guidance on how to run the all-important information session (complete with slides) and advice for teachers and school leaders, this School Facilitation Guide will take the stress out of teaching eSafety in-house. It can even provide a great supplement to externally delivered programs or professional learning for teachers and teach you what to look out for.


I’m a parent or caregiver, and I want my school to do this!

Consider sharing this program with other parents in your school to get a bit of momentum going and send a letter to your school Principal to get your school involved. You can also look at the Take It Home Resource Pack and explore some further reading. The most important thing you can do for your child is be informed! Even if your school doesn’t decide to use this education package, you can still help your child with the resources.


The Singing Clownfish

eSafety For Kids
School Facilitation Guide

School Facilitation Guide

This School Facilitation Guide will support teachers and school leaders in delivering a whole-school approach to eSafety. It encompasses notes on how to best deliver the eSafety for Kids unit of work in your school, along with guides for getting the community and parents/caregivers involved in the process. It is designed to work alongside the Take It Home Resource Pack, which schools can provide directly to parents/caregivers.

galah parent explaining

eSafety For Kids
Take It Home Resource Pack

Take It Home Resource Pack

This Take It Home Resource Pack will support parents/caregivers and interested community members in supporting the delivery of the eSafety for Kids unit of work in their child’s school. The lessons include Take It Home activities, which are included in this pack. This pack is designed to work alongside the School Facilitation Guide, which includes information for schools to facilitate a whole-school approach to eSafety.

Years 5 & 6 Education Resources

the tweeting galah

Know The Internet
Years 5 & 6

HPE, HASS

In this activity, students will consider how they spend their time online and who they communicate with. They will then explore how to reduce risks, such as sharing personal information and communicating with unknown people, when participating in digital activities.

Quokka taking selfie

You Decide
Years 5 & 6

HPE, English

In this lesson, students will understand the importance of consent when requesting or sharing images online and know how to look for behaviours that try to change their mind.

 clown fish on tablet

Feeling Fishy Online
Years 5 & 6

English, HPE

Students will read a story that introduces the concept of ‘catfishing’. That is, pretending to be someone else online to gain trust and ultimately request something from their target. They will then explore how to respond if something seems ‘off’ in online interactions.

Galah Parent Explaining

Express Yourself Safely
Years 5 & 6

HPE, HASS

Students will consider the legal ramifications of sharing explicit content – even with consent – and learn how to find support. They will think about fun alternatives for expressing themselves and create resources to encourage others to do the same.

clown fish family chatting

Your Social Brain
Years 5 & 6

HPE, English

In this lesson, students will be made aware of some of the warning signs of online grooming and consider how to respond to inappropriate interactions, including confiding in others and seeking support. They will understand how, as they approach adolescence, their desire for social connection increases, coupled with an increase in risk-taking that does not always align with the development of reasoning and problem-solving. They consider how this may increase their risk of being targeted by tricky people online.

 

Cleaning Up
Years 5 & 6

Maths, HPE

In this lesson, students will consider some of the consequences of having a publicly visible digital footprint. After considering their peers’ most common online activities, students refer back to their prior learning about digital safety and avoiding tricky people online, learning how to audit and clean up their online presence to protect themselves and others.

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A shout out

Thank you to Kim Maslin (author of The Tweeting Galah) for permitting Cool Australia to use images and the ‘Strange Story of the Singing Clownfish’ in the eSafety for Kids education package.

Aligned with the Australian curriculum, The Tweeting Galah cyber safety children’s book series offers a unique and entertaining approach to teaching primary-aged children how to navigate the online world safely and healthily. The four books in the series are vibrantly illustrated and include reflection questions at the end to guide classroom discussion. Augmented reality experiences are embedded within the books, offering a simple and safe technological experience without complicated preparation. The Tweeting Galah series is written by West Australian author Kim Maslin and illustrated by John Field. The Tweeting Galah series is available in both print and eBook format. You can purchase the series here: https://thetweetinggalah.com/.

Our expert team supporting content development

In developing the lessons, it was critical to have the input of a psychologist and expert groups to ensure these lessons promote emotional safety and are developmentally appropriate. 

Our expert team included:

Niclés BestelPsychologist and Consultant, MPsych (Clinical), GradDipPsych, DipCouns, BA, EMDRAA

Niclés Bestel is a child and adolescent psychologist who has extensive experience working in various counselling, community mental health and school wellbeing settings. Niclés has a particular interest in working with trauma and dissociation. Niclés provides counselling and support to children, adolescents and families in a school setting and as a Practice Director of Aspire Wellness and Psychology. Cool Australia commissioned Niclés to research the topic of online safety and child sexual exploitation. She provided Cool Australia with a detailed scoping report outlining best practice, the latest research and proposed activities and resources. This report formed the foundation of the eSafety for Kids lessons. Niclés also conducted a thorough review of the lessons and support materials, providing detailed feedback on creating safety in the classroom and scaffolding the activities to ensure they were developmentally appropriate.

Focus group

Cool Australia ran a focus group with primary teachers and parents to determine the best way to approach a whole-school model of support for the eSafety for Kids education package. Parents were allowed to share how they want to be involved in this aspect of their child’s education (which was ‘heavily’), and teachers could share what they felt comfortable tackling in class and what they felt needed to be done at home. The feedback from this session greatly informed our Take It Home Resource Pack and the School Facilitation Guide.

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