Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Internet is like a puddle

Five Mile Press, Victoria, 2014
ISBN 9781760064167

For children aged 3-6 yrs

A cautionary tale

Don’t let the wide-eyed animals in “The internet is like a puddle” lull you into thinking all is calm. Expect a serious message. There are loads of fun things to do and games to play on the internet. Look out for a crocodile with plenty of teeth idling in the puddle but don’t be deceived. This book will help adults communicate a cautionary approach to internet time and start conversations with young children about safe internet play.

The internet can be a bit tricky

There’s lots of games and splashing fun to be had in a puddle, the water may appear to be shallow but can be deep and mirky underneath. In this picture book koala is absorbed stepping out with his mobile phone, rabbit and bear are on a lap top, ipad or ‘device’, mouse looks on holding a red polka-dot ball. The first inkling of difficulty comes when frog jumps head first into the pond, the internet can be “a bit tricky”. 

The first inkling of difficulty comes when frog jumps head first into the pond

Child-friendly story about online safety

Young children in many Australian families may not ask “what’s the internet?” Going online is just part of daily life. This little gem of a book is going to be helpful for adults wanting to create awareness about internet safety from a child’s perspective. 

Shona Innes, the author, uses words like “deep’, ‘stuck’, ‘trouble’ and ‘tricky’. Awareness is raised about safety and chatting to strangers, also health and wellbeing. Bears eyes droop from playing too long.

Feelings and reactions are explored, the internet is fun to play with and because of this it can be hard to say ‘no’. This validates feelings children may have if they are asked to say ‘no’ to the chance to dip into the ‘internet puddle’. It might seem unfair when ‘everyone else gets to play’.

Role of a parent or carer

Big bear holds Little bears paw at the edge of a pond. Duck is happily floating in the “puddle”. Then something doesn’t look right, a large crocodile with lots of teeth and a menacing smile waits in the pond with an inflatable purple floaty ring. The message is clear, a safe person needs to be there to make sure children don’t go in too deep and if this happens, they know what to do next. Notes for parents and teachers about technology use, setting limits and being internet safe are at the back of the book. Shona Innes, is a qualified clinical and forensic psychologist.

This book has engaging illustrations with thoughtful text and provides a wonderful means for communicating with children in a child-friendly way. It is one of several books from the Big hug series featuring expressive and warm animal illustrations and sharing emotional challenges.

Please get in touch if you would like to read The Internet is like a puddle, You are like you or Worries are like clouds. I purchased copies from The Children’s Bookshop they can also be purchased online. Recommended retail price is $14.95.

Crocodile, Freshwater Station, Cairns

More on internet, cyber or online safety?

World issues: Staying safe online is a recent book for primary students, with plenty of photos and accessible text.  Parents can link to Australian Government’s Office of the Children’s eSafety Commission, for guidance and strategies in the home, including managing technology. The publication A parent’s guide to online safety is available 5 languages. Life Education, visits schools to empower children and young people to make safer and healthier resources through education. Parents can find out about how to start conversations with their children.

Your feedback is valuable. Do you have any children’s 
resources that have helped explain internet safety?

Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian

November 2016

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

In memory of Dr Graham Bench

As I was finalising my talk for the ACCYPN conference last week I was reflecting on how far we have come in the care of children and young people in healthcare since AWCH was established in 1973.  I was thinking of the dedicated and motivated individuals who came together to establish AWCH and drive change in the psychosocial wellbeing of children and young people in healthcare, when I received the sad news of Dr Graham Bench’s death.

Graham was a well known and much loved paediatrician of over 50 years. His involvement with AWCH began in 1975 and he held various positions within the organisation over the past 40 years. Notably he was treasurer to Quentin Bryce’s Presidency and was made an Honorary Life member of AWCH and was appointed an AWCH Ambassador in 2010 in recognition of the incredible contribution he made to AWCH.  Graham wrote the original AWCH Constitution and took on the role of visiting speaker to various organisations and fundraising for AWCH. As recently as only a few months ago Graham was speaking about the work of AWCH at a local club.

Graham has been a significant part of so many of AWCH’s achievements and he sums this up nicely in his own words,

“……my greatest thoughts about the work of AWCH are how much the wards in children's hospitals have changed, how the whole attitude towards children in hospital has improved and thus lessened the psychological trauma that they suffer by being hospitalised and in particular our very wonderful establishment of the AWCH Ward Granny Scheme…..” 

Testimonial from Dr Graham Bench AWCH lifetime member and AWCH Ambassador on the 40th anniversary of AWCH.

On behalf of AWCH I would like to thank Graham for his tireless and outstanding contribution to improving the wellbeing of children and young people in healthcare across Australia for over 50 years – you will be remembered by so many with much affection and admiration.

A/Prof Alison Hutton
AWCH President

AWCH office email:
AWCH office phone: 02 9817 2439

October 2016