West Lothian children get preview of world-first children's book about cyber security and staying safe online

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The Bongles and The Crafty Crows teaches kids to use three random words for passcodes

A “world-first” illustrated children's book to teach youngsters aged four to seven about cyber security is being launched in a bid to help kids stay safe online.

The Bongles and The Crafty Crows teaches young learners how to create passwords and passcodes using three random words, helping them to explore, play and communicate while using digital technologies, while keeping their online information safer and more secure.

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The book will be distributed for free to every Primary 1 pupil in Scotland next month. They will each receive a copy in their Book Bug Bag, due to be distributed next month ahead of Scottish Book Week, November 13-19.

Members of the 18th West Lothian Beaver Scouts were among the first to see the new book.Members of the 18th West Lothian Beaver Scouts were among the first to see the new book.
Members of the 18th West Lothian Beaver Scouts were among the first to see the new book.

Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth said: "This is a fantastic story and a great opportunity to introduce young children to cyber security. Digital technology is going to be at the heart of these children's lives and it's so important to help them learn how to stay safe online. I hope that teachers, parents and carers will use this engaging story and the learning activities that come with it to help their children learn about the importance of online safety."

A recent report by Ofcom said 97 per cent of children in the UK have access to the internet, with most going online before they are five and 86 per cent of 5-7-year-olds using tablet devices to go online.

Some youngsters who have already seen the book are members of the 18th West Lothian Beaver Scouts. Seven-year-old Sophie Watson said: “The book helped me learn all about passwords and passcodes. You need to make a responsible one and not make easy passwords that people will know. I had lots of fun learning about passwords and I want to read the book again.”

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The book, which follows the adventures of Big Bubba, the Twins, Brainy and Pet Robot, has been designed to equip teachers, parents and carers with an attractive resource to help children learn important cyber-resilience skills, and is supported by a range of learning activities and materials.

It is the latest in a series of illustrated children's books, ebooks, and animated audiobooks from Story Learning that tell stories about The Bongles - colourful bouncy creatures who reuse, repair and upcycle objects that wash up onto the pristine shores of their paradise-like island.

Frances O'Neill, founder and creative director at Story Learning, said: "Using recognisable, well-known children's characters is a fantastic way to educate young children about the importance of staying secure online. Until now, educational materials on cyber security have been targeted at older primary and secondary school-aged children, with no recognised resource for younger learners.

"The Bongles and The Crafty Crows equips teachers and parents alike with a vibrant and fun tool to talk to four to seven-year-olds about the importance of keeping their online information safer and more secure, and impart knowledge that will help foster a generation of responsible and internet-savvy citizens."