A new early childhood online
safety education initiative launched today aims to help parents, carers and educators
teach infants, toddlers and pre-school children basic technology and online
Playing IT Safe was developed
by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation with funding from the Proceeds of
Crime Act 2002 from the Australian Federal Police and Australian Centre to
Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE), with additional funding from the eSafety
Commissioner’s Early Year’s program.
The initiative includes an
introduction to online safety education through preventative messaging and a
series of digital play-based and offline activities that children can undertake
with educators in early learning environments, and at home with parents and
The Minister for Home Affairs
Peter Dutton said the internet is an essential part of our lives, and for children
it is becoming a part of their lives earlier than ever.
“We know very young children
have access to electronic devices – they may watch videos or play games on a
mobile phone or tablet – and many children are spending more time using these
devices because of the COVID-19 pandemic placing them more at risk of being
targeted by online child sex offenders,” Mr Dutton said.
Since the implementation of
social distancing measures designed to contain the COVID pandemic, law
enforcement agencies have seen a disturbing rise in the amount of child abuse
material being shared on the dark net and an increase in the number of
referrals through to the ACCCE.
“The protection of children
requires a community-wide response which is why law enforcement, government and
early childhood education experts have joined forces to develop this key
initiative,” Mr Dutton said.
The Minister for
Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher said the Playing IT
Safe resources build on the eSafety Commissioner’s Early Years program and are
designed to help parents and carers establish positive online behaviours
through age-appropriate activities.
“Research from the eSafety
Commissioner shows four out of five parents have pre-school aged children who
access the internet, which is why it’s important to establish a strong
foundation for safe internet use from a young age,” Minister Fletcher
“When a child first reaches
for a digital device to watch an online video or play an education-based game,
I encourage parents and carers to reach for the Playing IT Safe resources.”
Programs like Playing IT Safe
are critical to the protection of young children in an ever-changing online
environment, and this Government will continue to support initiatives which
help protect Australian children from harm.
For early childhood online
safety resources and information visit www.playingitsafe.org.au and eSafety.gov.au.