Professional development workshops for early learning educators will keep our youngest Australians safe online

in News

A new series of professional development workshops to help early childhood educators teach pre-schoolers basic online safety through play-based learning is now open for registrations. The delivery of the workshops is proudly supported by Gandel Philanthropy.

Playing IT Safe is an innovative early childhood online safety education initiative that supports educators to help our youngest citizens become respectful and safe technology users.  

Developed by national children’s charity, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, in partnership with the Australian Federal Police and the eSafety Commissioner, and in collaboration with leading academics and early childhood teachers, Playing IT Safe is a web portal that hosts play-based activities, games and resources for early learning educators, parents and carers to use when introducing technology and online safety to young children.

Research from the eSafety Commissioner shows that 81 per cent of parents with pre-schoolers said their children were already using the internet.

The portal’s resources uses play to teach children about what the internet is, how messages and photos are shared and who to go to if they feel scared or need help when using technology.

The Foundation’s Digital Innovation Advisor, Dan Donahoo, said these workshops are essential for early childhood educators to  confidently and effectively incorporate Playing IT Safe into their educational and care environments.

Gandel Philanthropy is funding the Alannah & Madeline Foundation to conduct the pilot professional development workshops for 500 educators and 7,500 children.

The Foundation’s CEO Lesley Podesta said that Playing IT Safe is about early intervention.

"Now, more than ever, it’s important for young children to understand what technology is, how and why it’s used and how to do that in safe and appropriate ways,” Lesley said.

“The portal will help them help children in fun, interactive and age- appropriate ways to better understand technology, as well as create and develop a foundation for good online safety skills that will stay with them as they grow.”

Keeping children safe online is at the core of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s work and is part of an ongoing commitment to support young children and assist their families and early childhood educators raise and teach children in a digital world, Podesta said.

“We know children are now online before they can even read. Our children need to explore and learn safely, and these resources will help them play online in ways that will give them the skills they need to be safe and smart.”

CEO of Gandel Philanthropy, Vedran Drakulic OAM said the trustees of the foundation were convinced that supporting this initiative was important for the wellbeing of children.

“Playing IT Safe has the potential to form a strong basis for a more humane, kinder and more respectful internet culture,” Drakulic said.

“The trustees of Gandel Philanthropy hope they can help the next generation of Australian children to be understanding and accepting of others, and to stand up to cyber bullying. It’s vitally important they will be a generation who understands the ways technology works and will come to it with empathy, kindness and compassion. The way we can do that is to start early, and to be guided by quality resources like Playing IT Safe.”

For more information and to register for the workshops, visit the Playing IT Safe site

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