Press Release from CEOP today:
“Hector’s World is available at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/hectorsworld
Children as young as five years old are the focus of a new online safety programme being launched today, Thursday 8th May 2008, by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.
OFCOM research indicates that 59% of 5-7 year olds access the internet at home and that 21% do so unsupervised. Now building on the success of the organisation’s Thinkuknow education initiative, which has already reached over 1.7 million children and young people between the ages of 8-16 years, the UK’s Centre for tackling the sexual abuse of children is now reaching out to parents of much younger children with vital ‘safety first’ advice.
Hector’s WorldTM comprises five state-of-the-art, animated episodes. It takes children on a journey with Hector and his friends as they explore issues such as personal information, trustworthiness, making positive choices online and how to be open with a trusted adult when they use the internet.
The animation has been adapted for a young UK audience following successful running of the programme in New Zealand and is backed up by a series of free resources available to parents and teachers via the dedicated CEOP education website – thinkuknow.co.uk. All materials have been developed in consultation with Becta and with teachers.
Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the CEOP Centre and holds the ACPO lead for child protection in the UK made the following statement
“We know that children are now using the internet at an increasingly young age. Recent research, coupled with feedback from our own youth panel and our work with parents, show that children are exploring the online world from as young as five years old. Teachers have asked us for this material because it is never too early to start giving children ‘safety first’ messages: in the same way that we teach small children to cross the road safely, there is a need to ensure that young children learn good habits for a future life online. If we give them early lessons in a way that is engaging, relevant and fun, we can help to safeguard young children online not only now but well into the future. We are delighted that working in partnership with New Zealandâs internet safety group, NetSafe, has enabled us to bring the inspirational and engaging characters from Hectorâs WorldTM to UK children. We hope that every primary school in the UK will open its doors to Hectorâs World for the benefit of all 5-7 year old students.â
Liz Butterfield is Managing Director of Hectors WorldTM â a charitable subsidiary of NetSafe concured by stating:
âLearning how to protect your personal information online is a fundamental skill for children today, especially considering the downward trend in the age children first access the internet. Hectors World offers the âbuilding blocksâ of the skills and values children will need onlineâ.
Niel McLean, Executive Director of Institutional Workforce and Development at Becta said:
âWe face a careful balancing act when it comes to young people online â no matter what their age. We should definitely encourage their enthusiasm to embrace the opportunities the internet offers but we must also ensure that they explore and develop their skills in a safe way. CEOPâs Hectorâs World programme is a welcome addition to the support and guidance surrounding e-safety that is currently available to parents, carers and teachers. Itâs vital that the work to educate children about the benefits of technology continues with innovative and engaging schemes such as this.”
The resources include lesson plans for teachers, Songsheets, Colouring pages, Posters, Puzzles and a downloadable “Hector’s World Safety Button” that can be installed on computers for children to click on that covers the screen whilst the ask an adult for help if they experience something on the internet that makes them feel scared or worried. To access lesson plans and resources register on the Think U Know Teachers area.