15 March 2019
By Rebecca Avery

Jessie & Friends: Online Safety Education for 4-7s

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At a time when younger children are ever more active online, the National Crime Agency(NCA) is reporting an increase in the scale and complexity of online offending against children. In response, NCA-CEOP is engaging directly with children as young as four through a new educational resource, Jessie & Friends.

Jessie & Friends is based on a series of three fun, age-appropriate animations which follow Jessie, Mo and Tia as they view, share and game their way towards a safer future online. The animations are accompanied by:

  • a catchy song, storybooks and posters
  • a detailed guidance pack with engaging learning activities on key topics including trust, consent, and healthy and unhealthy online behaviours, plus expert advice on safe and effective delivery of Jessie & Friends
  • advice for parents and carers on using Jessie & Friends to start a positive, age-appropriate online safety conversation with their child

Children across the UK will enjoy learning with Jessie, Mo and Tia through age-appropriate lessons and activities in the school curriculum, or delivered within community-based clubs and other services for children. Jessie & Friends has been awarded the PSHE Association Quality Mark in recognition of the high-quality, safe learning opportunities it provides.

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What children will learn

The key message for children throughout Jessie and Friends is that if a child  feels worried about anything that happens online, they should seek help from an adult they trust. Further learning outcomes include identifying and responding safely to manipulative, pressurising and unhealthy behaviour online, and considering the safety and rights of themselves and other children when sharing content online.

How to use the resource with children

Jessie & Friends can be delivered to classroom-sized groups of children, smaller groups and on a one-to-one basis. The animations should be used in a preventative context, not following an incident online.

Each animation has been created for a different age group:

  • Episode 1 – Watching Videos (4-5 years)
  • Episode 2 – Sharing Pictures (5-6 years)
  • Episode 3 – Playing Games (6-7 years)

The theme and learning outcomes of each film and accompanying resources are informed by the latest research, intelligence from NCA child protection and investigative specialists, input from an expert advisory group and extensive engagement with children, their families, and professionals.

If you intend to use them with other age groups, NCA-CEOP ask that professional discretion is used to determine the suitability of the resource for the children you work with. Consider the child's ability, understanding, online experience and use of technology.

All Jessie & Friends education resources are available to download free at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/professionals/resources/jessie-and-friends.

How to use the resource with parents/carers

Children learn best when their experience at school is echoed and reinforced at home, and vice versa. Parents and carers play an essential role in the safety of their children online, particularly for this age group. Jessie & Friends provides information and advice to parents and carers to support ongoing conversations with their child about the internet and online safety, as well as practical information on how they can ensure the online spaces they are accessing are as safe as possible.

The storybook for each Jessie & Friends episode can be used both within the classroom and at home and content to share with parents and carers can be found at: www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/jessie-and-friends.

We encourage DSLs in Early Years Settings and Schools to download the resources for use with children in the classroom and to share the content with parents and carers so we can all help equip 4-7 year olds with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to help them stay safe from abuse and other risks they may encounter online.