I was discussing teaching internet safety to 5 year olds with my parents. They are very open-minded and liberal but found it stressful to consider talking about threatening situations with such small children

They agreed that it would be a dereliction of all our duties not to teach our children how to cross the road safely and that we would not necessarily present them with very scarey images of large lorries bearing down on them with lots of blood and gore resulting. In truth, road safety campaigns have generally featured lovable small animals being gently tutored by larger furry animals. Quite how efficacious these images are I don’t know.

But my point is that we can teach primary children – indeed, we must teach them – to understand the dangers of traffic and of using the internet in ways that are appropriate.

 I have found using Jill Murphy’s wonderful book, ‘A Piece of Cake’, a terrific method of encouraging young children to investigate addiction. After all, for those deprived souls who haven’t read the book, Mrs Large’s attempts to diet are doomed from the start because of her own desires and pressure from her family whose exasperation with the lettuce leaves and constant jogging drive them to raid the fridge (in which lies a luscious chocolate cake) in the middle of the night. If this isn’t drugs education, I don’t know what is!

I haven’t seen any materials designed to explore internet safety in the early years, but I am confident that it is possible to do this sensitively and engagingly without being too explicit.

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