Special episode of Play School focuses on internet safety

Play School is venturing into the world of online safety.

A special episode of Play School will help teach preschool children how to stay safe online.

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner is teaming up with Play School favourites Big Ted, Humpty and Kiya, to help teach young children to be safe and kind online and encourage them to ask for help from an adult if they get into trouble.

The partnership begins with the airing of a special online safety-themed Play School episode on Monday 27 April.

The episode will be backed up by the release of a series of professional learning modules developed in cooperation with Early Childhood Australia.

“Just like the Play School we all know and love, this special episode will feature ‘people with games and stories to tell’ to help teach young kids about being safe and kind online,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.

“It’s also important they know they can ask an adult for help if they get into trouble online because we know not every ‘bear in there’ is a friend.

“The world most of us grew up in is very different to the one our kids are facing today, and this is especially true when it comes to the internet and the age at which our youngest Australians are now exposed to it.”

A recent eSafety survey showed that 81 per cent of parents with preschoolers said their children were already using the internet.

Furthermore, some studies indicate that up to 94 per cent of four-year-olds have used the internet in some way.

“Watching this Play School episode with your preschooler is a great opportunity to start a conversation and help establish safe online behaviours early on,” Ms Inman Grant said.

The special episode will feature Kiya and her Play School friends going online with presenters Teo and Leah to make the arrangements for her upcoming birthday party.

The ABC wanted to do something to teach young children about internet safety given how many of them were already online.

“With so many preschoolers viewing, listening, communicating and playing online, ABC Children felt it crucial to tackle the area of internet safety,” ABC Head of Children’s Programming Libbie Doherty said.

The episode will be closely followed by the release of four professional learning modules specifically designed for early childhood educators and service managers. The will feature excerpts from the program to reinforce the online safety lessons and messages.

The modules, which form part of eSafety’s Early Years program for children aged 0-5, will also reinforce positive online safety messages for children to Be safe, Be kind, Ask for help, and Make good choices.

All four modules will be available for use by early childhood educators and service managers via Early Childhood Australia Learning Hub.

You can tune into Play School on Monday 27 April and take advantage of the Early Years learning modules at eSafety.gov.au.