The Project

Overview of Being Safety Smart

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Being Safety Smart was initiated by the Queensland Police Service due to the increasing risk of child abduction, assault and abuse in the region and brought to public attention with the disappearance of Daniel Morcombe in 2003. Being Safety Smart aims to reduce the incidence of ch ild abuse by increasing children's awareness of situations that might impact upon their personal safety and empowering them with the ability to act appropriately when these situations arise. Data has suggested that children in regional and remote areas may be at greater risk of abuse than children in other areas. In response, Being Safety Smart is an internet delivered resource which can enable children in regional and remote areas to have access to the safety awareness message.

Being Safety Smart builds on the experience and evaluation of other child safety, abduction and sexual abuse programs worldwide, together with practical experience and real-life evidence in Australia from the Queensland Police Service and the Crime and Misconduct Commission, to create best practice messages and strategies, accessible to children aged 6 to 8 using supported classroom activities and online resources.

Being Safety Smart is a fun to play cartoon world with interactive stories and mini games. Children learn key safety strategies through solving puzzles and completing activities online. Children are protected whilst playing Being Safety Smart as there are no opportunities within the game for children to chat with, or share information with others.

 

Key Strategies

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

What are the key messages and strategies in Being Safety Smart?

The safety messages and strategies in Being Safety Smart are based on international global best practice messages from other programs including: KlassKids Foundations, Yello Dyno, Kids Help Line, Safer Child Inc, Family Education, FBI Kids and Stay Safe, coupled with experience and advice of the QPS and CMC. The key messages and strategies are presented as eight distinct levels in the game.

 

Level

Screenshot

Location

Key Message

1

My house

Ask parent/carer first.

Key Strategies

Always tell your parent or carer where you are going. Things to remember to tell your parent or carer before you go anywhere eg where you are going, when you will be back, how you will get there, who will be with you, phone if your plans change etc.

2

Friends House

Stick with your buddy.

Key Strategies

Better to be with a friend or group of friends when you are out and about. Stick with your buddy, go with a group of friends, ask your parent or carer first.

3

School

Watch where you are going.

Key Strategies

Be careful where you play and where you go. Safe locations and routes. Stay where there are other people, don’t take short cuts, stay where it is light, ask your parent or carer first.

4

Backyard

Trusted adults.

Key Strategies

Knowing who you can turn to if there is a problem. 5 trusted adults.

5

Shopping Centre

Finding help if you’re lost.

Key Strategies

Who can help you if you get lost. What should you do and say. Who should you ask for help. First call your parent or carer, do not go looking for them, go ask a mum with kids for help, ask a police officer. Recognising police officer, recognising a police car.

6

Sports Club House

Knowing and using your codeword.

Key Strategies

Using you codeword safely. When to use it, what should you say to someone you don’t know. You and your parent or carer should agree to a codeword, don’t go with anyone if they don’t know your codeword, never tell codeword to anyone even to friends.

7

Park

Being safe when out and about.

Key Strategies

How to be safe when you are out with friends including when cars approach, strangers asking for help etc. Never talk to, accept gifts, never get into cars, never go to someone who asks for help, grownups shouldn’t ask for help, it’s okay to say No, tell your parent or carer straight away.

8

Playground

It’s okay to shout and tell.

Key Strategies

You shouldn’t keep secrets and you don’t have to do everything adults tell you to do. It is not what people look like, but what they ask you to do, don’t keep secrets, if the person says don’t go – then go, it always okay to come home, tell parent or carer, how to remember people.

 

What does it look like?

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

The key safety awareness messages are presented as eight distinct levels in an online cartoon-style game environment, where each level is located within the child’s virtual world. The child selects levels from an interactive map of their virtual world. Locations become available on successful completion of a previous level such that the child progresses sequentially through the key messages, building on prior learning with more complex skills, behaviours and strategies.

Map view (with help messages displayed) allowing child to select each level in turn

On first entering the child safety awareness game environment, and on completion of each game level, the child is placed in their personal virtual lounge room. From here the child can access levels (by selecting the TV displaying the map), and view their awards (on the wall) and parent or carer additional information (on the bookshelf). Progress through the levels, the child’s award and their profile characters are saved automatically so that the child can return to game from where they left off.

 

Lounge room ‘home’ screen allowing child to select levels, create profile, and view awards and parent information

On first login the child creates a virtual Sims-style character to represent themself in the game. This virtual character and the child’s name are displayed throughout the environment in both the presentation of child safety messages and the interactive games. The personalised character has been found to offer greater engagement of the child with the content. Once the virtual character has been created the child selects the map view and then enters ‘level 1: Ask parents first’, located at ‘My House’.

Each level comprises of:

1) an instructional section

2) activity/game sections

3) and summary of key points

Instructional Section

The instructional section presents the key child safety awareness messages for the level using magazine-style cartoons and dynamic animations of scenarios. All textual information is also presented as an audio track spoken by children of the same age.

 

Level 6 screenshot showing key codeword message

Activity/Game Section

The activity/game section reiterates the messages presented in the instructional section and tests the child’s understanding through interactive role-play and games. There are three main styles of activities: i) choice from three options as to ‘what to do next’; ii) selection of correct items from display of multiple items; iii) and interactive games. The child is given additional information for each incorrect and correct selection to reiterate the appropriate behaviour.

 

Level 6 activity ‘What should you do now?’

Summary Section

On completion of the messages and interactive activities the child is presented with a summary page for the level with images and animations to reiterate the key safety awareness messages.

 

Level 1 summary page to reiterate key messages

The child is returned to the lounge room where a printed award for the level is hanging on the wall. Additionally, an information sheet for parents or carers accompanying the level is now selectable on the bookcase. The child award is image based with few words but includes the child’s name and virtual character. The parent/carer sheet explains in more detail the messages of the level.

 

Child award for level 6 (for printing)

There are interactive game elements throughout the 8 levels (activity style iii). These include drag and drop recognition of a Police Officer and Police car, photo fit game to create people; maze games to navigate from home to school along safe routes; and Trusted Adults that can lend a hand.

 

 

Level 4 game – My Trusted Adults

 

   

Why an Online Game?

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

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.

Active participation

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

Explicit training

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

Standardised materials

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.

Parental involvement

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.

Teacher education

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.

   


Being Safety Smart is a joint
initiative between:

 

Proudly Supported By: