The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is encouraging community members to register for Australia’s Biggest Child Safety Lesson (ABCSL).
For the first time ever, the Daniel Morcombe Foundation is producing two editions of ABCSL.
On June 25, the live-streamed lessons will focus on online safety strategies for children aged between eight to 12-years-old. On September 10, as part of National Child Protection Week, they will deliver a second lesson specifically for children aged four to seven covering key messages about secrets.
The 25 minute educational lesson will focus specifically on online safety skills, including expert advice from Australia’s eSafety Commissioner and includes a video from a child’s perspective about the online world.
The protection of children is a high priority for the QPS, which has dedicated officers working in the Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group including Argos the specialist unit investigating internet facilitated child exploitation. Additionally there are specialist officers in the Criminal Investigation Branch and Child Protection and Investigation Units located across the state. Prevention-based community education is a core role for officers in keeping children safe.
Detective Inspector Stephen Blanchfield, who was the investigations manager of Operation Vista – the investigation of the disappearance of Daniel Morcombe in December 2003, encouraged parents and carers to sign up for ABCSL along with their children.
“Disturbingly we know child sex offenders go to extraordinary lengths to exploit children,” Detective Inspector Blanchfield said.
“Keeping children safe, being vigilant to dangers and reporting suspected child abuse is a shared responsibility and we cannot underestimate the valuable contribution the community plays in helping us stop, solve and prevent crimes against children.
“Personal safety education provides parents and children the opportunity to have important conversations and equips children with the knowledge they need to recognise potentially unsafe situations or people and know how to respond.”
In addition to registering for ABCSL, Argos Detective Acting Inspector Peter Dearing encourages parents to take active and ongoing measures around their child’s online activities as supervision is critical in preventing children being exploited online.
“Internet-connected devices can have great educational benefits but they can also reveal your child’s personal details allowing other people to contact your child without you knowing,” Detective Acting Inspector Dearing said.
“Increasingly around the world police are seeing predators gaining access to children online through popular apps, games and social media sites and our investigations show there is a significant prevalence of self-produced child exploitation material online.
“We’re seeing a lot of kids having unsupervised access to the internet and research from the Office of eSafety Commissioner shows one in four kids have been approached by strangers online and a lot of times parents aren’t aware of these risks,” Detective Acting Inspector Dearing said.
“I encourage all parents and carers to be vigilant and actively involved in their child’s online activity.
“Prevention is the key and parents need to have those discussions with their kids about what they’re doing online, opening up the dialogue that no matter what happens, they can always come to a parent or a caregiver.
“Parents need to educate themselves to see what they can do to proactively keep their kids safe online.”
For further QPS advice and information about reducing online risks for children visit who’s chatting to your kids.
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation said that kids have grown up with technology and they are often very savvy. However, there’s still a lot we can all learn about being safer online.
“Children are spending more time than every before online,” Denise Morcombe said.
“ABCSL will teach children aged 8 to 12 to recognise, react and report unsafe situations online and address unwanted contact, protecting personal information and cyber bullying.”
ABCSL makes teaching personal safety easy. It provides a plug-in and play safety lesson on its own or teachers, parents and carers can use the extension activities provided to further the conversation.
To register to participate in Australia’s Biggest Child Safety Lesson, visit https://danielmorcombe.com.au/.
If you believe a child is in immediate danger or a life threatening situation, call Triple Zero (000).
If you have a reason to suspect a child is experiencing harm, or is at risk of experiencing harm or neglect, contact Child Safety Services and talk to someone about your concerns.