- About Cybersmart Detectives
- Key Safety Messages
- How does Cybersmart Detectives work?
- Register and play the game
- View feedback
- Contact us
- Video: View an overview of the online activity and feedback from participating children and guides (9.50Mb launches new window)
Cybersmart Detectives is an innovative online game that teaches children key internet safety messages in a safe environment.
Children work online in real time liaising with community professionals to solve an internet-themed problem.
The activity is based in the school environment, and brings together a number of agencies with an interest in promoting online safety for young people, including State and Federal Police, internet industry representatives and child welfare advocates.
In the scenario, children play the role of a school Deputy Principal concerned about the welfare of a new student, who may be being bullied by someone they have met in an internet chat room. Guided by a series of clues, children work collaboratively in teams to solve the mystery of what is worrying the student, and why. ‘Cybersmart Guides’ respond to the questions and theories posed by the students, and guide the teams through each of the ‘clues’. As the scenario unfolds, the children discuss the risks of certain online and offline behaviours, and ways of managing those risks.
Although the scenario presented in the activity is simulated, the sense of urgency that excites a class of children taking part is very real. By the end of the activity children will have learned some valuable lessons about some of the risks associated with internet use, especially useful tips for chatting safely online. More importantly, the issues that lie behind the story will have been discussed with professionals who deal with similar issues on a daily basis.
Cybersmart Detectives was initially developed by UK-based child advocacy agency Childnet International, and until 2005, operated under the name of Net Detectives. The activity is now independently operated by E-ngagelive. ACMA, by agreement with E-ngagelive , has adapted the activity for use in Australian schools under the name Cybersmart Detectives.
- People who you meet online may not be who they say they are.
- Children should never give out personal information when they are chatting online.
- If children want to meet face-to-face with someone they have chatted with, they should always take a parent with them.
- Parents should be involved in and monitor their children’s use of the internet, especially chat rooms.
The hour long activity is provided free of charge to schools, and targets children in the last year of primary school, 11 – 12 year age group.
Teams from various schools are linked via a central website on a secure server in the United Kingdom, through which the Cybersmart Detectives activity is run. Teachers register their teams with ACMA to take part in the activity. On the day of the activity, teams access a secure interactive area of the website called the ‘action centre’. This area operates like an internet chat room or bulletin board. Messages relating to the unfolding story are sent out periodically from the UK based server.
In schools, pupils work in teams of up to three students, receiving messages and responding to them in a proprietary chat room interface. Children are able to interact in real time with internet safety experts working in ‘virtual control rooms’ located throughout Australia. The Cybersmart Guides are available throughout the session to answer questions and give advice.
All messages are moderated by the ‘Central Control Room’ organised by ACMA. There is no facility for student teams to communicate directly with each other or anyone outside the activity.
ACMA provides additional resource material for teachers and schools in the form of safety brochures and follow-up activities to reinforce the internet safety message.
Schools wishing to participate in upcoming events may register their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.