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. The Australian Communications and Media Authority ( ACMA ), by agreement with E-ngagelive , has adapted the activity for use in Australian schools under the name Cybersmart Detectives.