Using technology is second nature to many 5 to 8 year-olds. With children spending more time online, how do we teach them the difference between in-person and online friends?
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) ThinkUKnow program in partnership with the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) have developed a new children’s picture book called Jack Changes the Game to support parents, carers and teachers in discussing some issues around online safety.
Written by notable children’s author Tess Rowley and illustrated by Shannon Horsfall, Jack Changes the Game takes a child’s perspective to online grooming, the challenges they face and why it’s important to talk to a trusted adult if they encounter any problems online.
The book is a first-of-its kind for law enforcement and is based on a report made to the ACCCE. It gives an insight with age-appropriate advice about online grooming and how parents can take action if something goes wrong.
Jack Changes the Game is a children's picture book about staying safer online, designed for parents, carers and educators to read with 5 to 8 year-old children.
In the book, Jack meets a new online friend through his favourite game. Before too long, ‘Footy Boy’ starts asking Jack for things that make him uneasy. Jack starts to wonder if ‘Footy Boy’ is the person he claims to be. Should Jack tell someone? What will happen if he does?
Jack Changes the Game forms part of a complete ThinkUKnow learning package that includes at home learning for parents and carers, a teacher's toolkit and student activity pack to reinforce key concepts from the book.
These resources and an e-book of Jack Changes the Game are available at ThinkUKnow.org.au
To ensure the book was age-appropriate and evidence-based, a stakeholder reference group was engaged to provide subject matter expertise and guidance. The group included:
- Dr Andrea Baldwin, Service Development Leader (Psychologist), Queensland Centre for Perinatal & Infant Mental Health
- Professor Susan Edwards, Director Early Childhood Futures, Australian Catholic University
- Kelly Humphries, Survivor of child sexual abuse, a law enforcement officer, author and advocate
- Professor Kerryann Walsh, School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education, Queensland University of Technology