Australian cops to enter kindergartens to teach kids not to cyber

Children as young as four will be given training in identifying suspicious online behaviour.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will enter the nation's infants schools to train children in online stranger danger, Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor announced on Tuesday.

Citing an increase in "younger children accessing technology, and law enforcement seeing incidents involving younger victims", Taylor said the AFP would extend its ThinkUKnow cybersafety program to children in kindergarten.

"We need to get on top of this and fast," Taylor said in a statement. "Our law-enforcement agencies are seeing shocking incidents of children as young as four producing sexually explicit material, uploading it to social media, and subsequently engaging with online child sex offenders.

"As a parent, these reports are deeply concerning. We need to closely supervise our young children online, and we also need to ensure they are taught how to identify suspicious online behaviour and how to block and report offensive apps and sites."

The ThinkUKnow program is delivered by state and territory police forces and developed by the AFP, Commonwealth Bank, Datacom, and Microsoft Australia.

Taylor said the content created for the program's ninth year will focus on "self-produced child exploitation material, grooming of children through online apps and games, and for young children the importance of adult supervision."

In May, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security Alastair MacGibbon told ZDNet that cyber education needs to begin in primary school.

"For me, being a successful person in my generation was being able to read and write and do basic maths," MacGibbon said. "What is going to get our kids to be successful in this world is the concept of computation, coding, and communication.

"If we're going to win when it comes to protecting the Australian way of life, in terms of cybersecurity, then it indeed starts in primary schools."

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