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Animated films aim to help keep primary children safe from online sexual abuse

Primary teachers and professionals now have access a contemporary education resource pack to teach eight to ten-year-olds to stay safe online.

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Developed by the education specialists at the National Crime Agency’s CEOP command, the Play Like Share resources include three animations which follow Sam, Alfie and Ellie as they form a band, Selfie, to take on the mean but cool Popcorn Wizards in their school’s battle of the bands competition.

On their journey to school super-stardom, Selfie learn just how troublesome an online fanbase can be as unscrupulous rivals use their online anonymity to derail the band’s rise to the top.
The accompanying resource pack, created by the team behind the Thinkuknow online safety programme, includes guidance, session plans and activities. The materials will teach children to recognise pressurising and threatening behaviours online, and allow professionals to select content most appropriate for the children they work with, based on their understanding, maturity and online engagement.

There are also further optional sessions, designed to be delivered to particularly risk-taking or vulnerable children, that address issues such as inappropriate online contact from adults.
To support parents and carers in protecting children’s safety online, the pack includes a letter and help-sheet offering conversation starters to discuss events in Play Like Share and a child’s internet use.

The resources are available free at the Thinkuknow website, the NCA’s hub for online safety information and a source of free educational resources for professionals, parents and children. Visit thinkuknow.co.uk/teachers.

Marie Smith, head of the NCA’s CEOP education team, said: “Play Like Share aims to simplify an often challenging topic. This resource will make it easier for teachers and professionals to deliver online safety by giving them all the materials they need in one place, ready to go.

“This is a safe and age-appropriate way to teach eight to ten-year-olds about sexual abuse and exploitation online. It is designed to address sensitive issues while helping children to gain the essential understanding, skills and confidence they need to resist manipulative behaviour online, as well as how to use the internet safely.”

Temporary Detective Superintendent Matt Walker of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Used safely, the internet is a fantastic resource to enable us to learn, share information, play and communicate. Sadly there are people out there who exploit it for more sinister reasons and pose a danger to our children’s online safety. It is a complex subject but this campaign aims to get vital safety messages out to young children in a clear and meaningful way that they can understand. We urge all teachers, parents and anyone who works with primary school age children to take advantage of the free resources available. We all have a responsibility to protect children from abuse and these age-appropriate materials come in a ready-made package, making it as simple as possible for anyone to deliver key safety messages.”