Digiduck’s Big Decision: Four years on

Posted on 11 May 2016

In March 2012 we launched our illustrated storybook, Digiduck’s Big Decision, to help parents and teachers educate children aged 3 – 7 years about how to be a good friend online

From April 2015 - April 2016 we carried out an evaluation survey of Digiduck’s Big Decision to find out what teachers and parents across the UK thought of the resource. 

Now, four years on, as we launch the 3rd print run of Digiduck, we share some of the highlights. 

About Digiduck

At Childnet we believe that developing digital safety skills early is key to ensuring young people grow up to be resilient digital citizens.  That’s why in March 2012 we launched Digiduck’s Big Decision

As a published storybook, e-book and app, Digiduck is a fun, interactive, informative resource that has been used by thousands of teachers and parents across the UK to teach 3-7s digital safety skills.

With thousands of copies issued each year, the book addresses the huge gap in educational approaches that build digital safety skills right from the point that children start using technology. Digiduck uses open discussion and storytelling to teach digital safety skills such as socio-emotional skills, including empathy and conflict resolution; critical thinking and digital literacy skills; coping skills like problem-solving and instrumental safety skills such as reporting concerns online.  This approach models positive online behaviour and strengthens adult-child relationships to create resilient digital citizens. 

Since Microsoft sponsored the first print run in 2012, Digiduck’s Big Decision has been a huge success:

  • 23,000 free printed copies of Digiduck distributed to schools and parents
  • 102,070 pages visits
  • Digiduck app was named in the 20 best android apps in October 2014 in The Guardian
  • Digiduck went international in 2013 being translated into Spanish and Norwegian

Why Digiduck works

 “In Spring 2015 I was tasked with developing boxes of resources that can be sent out to primary schools within my authority. My particular subject was covering Health and Safe Living, part of it needed to cover internet safety in a non-confrontational way. Children now need to learn how best to use the internet and what to avoid but not be scared of it and when I saw Digiduck’s Big Decision I thought it was ideal.
Being able to order a hard copy of the book was important to us and the fact that it was free was fantastic.
The book itself is beautifully illustrated and the story is one that any child using the internet could understand. The language is very accessible for children and the message is very clear. The discussion points at the back help both educators and home carers to reaffirm the message of the story. It is through reading, listening and questioning that children will learn and understand such key life skills. The fact that these are hidden within a story makes it all the more fun for the classes. Children don’t want to be talked at, they need to be engaged with and this resource gives them the engagement they need.
I have seen children gathered around the educator and calling out at various points to try and help Digiduck. For me that was all the evidence I needed to continue to include this resource in boxes for schools and nurseries.”

Claire Rowlands, Creative Learning Coordinator, West Dunbartonshire Council

Digiduck as a teaching resource

Since April 2015 we have asked teachers to tell us what they think of Digiduck.  The evaluation has shown the positive impact Digiduck has had on young people.

Thousands of young people have learnt digital safety skills that will lay the foundations for them becoming resilient digital citizens.  Teachers highlighted some of the key skills pupils have learnt.  The comments included:

  • How to be safe online and be a good friend
  • They could clearly see the consequences of thoughtless behaviour and could relate it to their own lives.
  • To only send appropriate photos and e-mails. Think before acting.
  • About responsible online behaviour
  • What you think may just be for fun could hurt others feelings. So think before you click.
  • Think before you post!
  • The children learnt about asking an adult if they were not sure about something

The evaluation also demonstrated the effectiveness of the book as teachers reflected on why it was useful as a teaching resource, with comments such as:

  • A great story for younger children to start learning about Internet safety.
  • Interactive, fun, easy to use, engagement by all ages in infants
  • Easy, quick, relevant
  • Child friendly, instantly useable
  • The children loved reading a book on a big screen and turning the pages.
  • An engaging story which captured children's interest. Easy to access.
  • Excellent resource to introduce the idea of cyberbullying and etiquette on being online

Digiduck's future

In early 2016 we issued the 3rd print run of Digiduck’s Big Decision.  You can purchase a copy of the book from our online shop. Digiduck is also available to download for free here.

As we look towards the future we see a bright one for our pal Digiduck!  The work has not only helped to build children’s digital skills at an early age, at a formative point in their use of technology, but it has also inspired increased focus on the need to support the youngest internet users. We believe this work will have a long-term impact and lay the foundation for a generation of positive and active digital citizens.

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