Why an Online Game?
Why use an online game to teach safety messages?
The online game is designed to meet 7 key features associated with children’s acquisition and retention of prevention concepts and skills (Sanderson 2004):
1) Active participation. Programs that encourage active participation of children (eg through role-play) are more effective than those that use either passive methods (eg traditional teaching, classroom discussions) or no participation (eg videos, written materials, self study) (Davis and Gidycz 2000; Finkelhor and Strapko 1992; Rispens, Alman and Goudena 1997).
2) Explicit training. Allowing children to rehearse appropriate behaviours is associated with greater gains in skills and knowledge over non-behaviour techniques (eg lectures, videos, puppet shows) (Davis and Gidycz 2000; Finkelhor and Strapko 1992; McCurdy and Daro 1994; Rispens, Alman and Goudena 1997; Wurtele, Marrs and Miller-Perrin 1987).
3) Standardised materials. Programs are more effective if they involve standardised materials and are taught by trained instructors (Finkelhor and Strapko 1992; MacIntyre and Carr 2000).
4) Integrated into schools curriculum. Programs are more effective if they are integrated into the school curriculum with designated times for delivery and support (McCurdy and Daro 1994).
5) Longer programs. Longer programs involving repeated presentations and followed by summaries to reinforce training are more effective than shorter programs (Daro 1991; Finkelhor, Asdigian and Dziuba-Leatherman 1995; Finkelhor and Strapko 1992; Hazzard, Webb, Kleemeier, Angert and Pohl 1991; MacIntyre and Carr 2000; Whetsell-Mitchell 1995; Rispens, Alman and Goudena 1997; Wurtele 1998).
6) Parental involvement. Children benefit more from prevention training if their parents are also included in the program (Conte and Fogarty 1989, Finkelhor and Dziuba-Leatherman 1995; Finkelhor, Asdigian and Dziuba-Leatherman 1995; Wurtele, 1993, 1998; Wurtele, Currier, Gillespie and Franklin 1991; Wurtele, Kast and Melzer 1992).
7) Teacher education. Programs that include teacher education are more effective in helping children to retain their prevention training (Finkelhor 1984; MacIntyre and Carr 2000).
Being Safety Smart has been developed around the key features associated with improved child learning and retention of prevention knowledge and skills above. The resource includes active participation, explicit training, standardised materials designed with involvement of parents, carers and the wider community. We wish to work with your school to integrated Being Safety Smart into the school curriculum and help your teachers deliver the program in the classroom.
Being Safety Smart is design to allow children to role-play skills and scenarios in the safe and secure environment of the cla ssroom. Children can experiment to find the appropriate response in situations, without experiencing fear or anxiety. The stories and scenarios are based on real-life abduction attempts and are designed to be realistic and relevant to the child.
Example ‘active participation’ screenshot from Being Safety Smart
Being Safety Smart is designed to allow children to rehearse appropriate behaviours using different interaction styles. Each key child safety message is reinforced, and skills rehearsed, by multiple choice selections stories and interactive games. Message content, language, presentation and interaction are age appropriate. The content of other programs are often designed primarily to meet the protection needs of girls, and may not provide adequate prevention training for boys. Gender differences need to be incorporated into prevention training as boys are less likely to believe that they can be abducted, so they often engage in more risk-taking behaviour. Being Safety Smart contains both girl and boy scenarios and activities, and all text displayed on screen is voiced by girls and boys.
Example ‘explicit training’ screenshot from Being Safety Smart
The key child safety messages are based on existing programs and the experience of Queensland Police Service, the Crime and Misconduct Commission and Education Queensland. The development team has worked in collaboration with Teachers, Behaviour Support staff and Guidance Officers from Education Queensland to develop the resource.
Integrated into school curriculum
The development team has worked in collaboration with Education Queensland school teachers to align the resource to school curricula for ages 6 to 8, around self, family and health. We wish to work with your school to support the inclusion of Being Safety Smart into your program.
Parents and carers are involved in the program through: i) information handouts to discuss with their child (prior to a level); ii) additional parent/carer information sheets become available when the child completes a level which can be printed and taken home; iii) parents and carers can access the resource online and learn the skills and strategies themselves and discuss with their child.
Teachers have been involved in the research, design, implementation, and evaluation of the project. Teachers have suggested how they can embed the program into classroom activities with worksheets and exercises, and that teacher created activities and support materials can be shared with other teachers to support training. Please let us know if you develop any classroom activities, worksheets or exercises which may benefit other teachers in their delivery of Being Safety Smart. We would like to support you, as best we can, to deliver Being Safety Smart in your classroom.