PROTECTING children from dangers online should start when they turn four, Centacare Regional Coordinator for Child Care Services Michelle Densmore has said.
Mrs Densmore said with increasing numbers of young children using the internet, child care services needed to create more awareness about how to better protect children online. She encouraged Centacare’s 11 kindergartens and 11 long day-care centres to include cyber safety training in their centres.
“We’ve had over the year’s professional development around cyber safety for our educators and teachers, but I actually think the realisation is that cyber safety talks aren’t just for school aged children,” Mrs Densmore said. “We do have younger children having access to a lot more these days than we ever did.” Mrs Densmore’s comments follow the Australian Federal Police’s announcement to expand its cyber safety training to children in Kindergarten through to Year 2 as part of their ThinkUKnow program.
The training expansion was introduced in response to young children accessing technology, and law enforcement seeing “shocking” incidents involving younger children. Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said the incidents discovered by law enforcement agencies were “deeply concerning”. “Our law enforcement agencies are seeing shocking incidents of children as young as four producing sexually explicit material, uploading it to social media, and subsequently engaging with online child sex offenders,” Mr Taylor said. “We need to get on top of this and fast.”
Mrs Densmore recommended the AFP’s program for Centacare staff. “We would recommend centres to look at that,” Mrs Densmore said. “If we can get that info out earlier that would be great.”
For tips on how to keep your children safe online visit http://www.thinkuknow.org.au/
For more information about Centacare Child Care’s and Kindergartens visit http://centacarebrisbane.net.au/child-care/overview-child-care/ or to find a service visit http://centacarebrisbane.net.au/service-listing/