During the past year, due to COVID-19 pandemic and the need to do stay home to do E-Learning, our children’s screen time has gone way up! This raises the increasing concern for parents to place importance on educating our kids on safe online behaviour, cybersecurity and issues like what to do when they received predatory messages or clickbait scams?
Ready, Get Set, Connect! is a beautifully illustrated cybersafety book designed for ages 8 and up. Readers will travel through cyber space to explore the wonders and perils of the online world, learning to face off with dangerous villains while understanding how to protect personal data with security weapons. Through fun activities and interactive lessons, kids learn how to spot fake news, identify worrying messages from potential predators, ensure their privacy is guarded and much more!
Nina Bual (L) and Michelle Yao (R)
Exclusive Interview with Michelle Yao, Co-Author and Co-Founder of Cyberlite Books
Our team speaks to Michelle Yao where she shares more about her new book “Ready, Get Set, Connect!”, on setting up their boutique publishing house, Cyberlite Books and others. Read on to find out more.
1. Please share with us more about your background and what made you decide to be an author?
Nina (my co-founder and co-author) and I are actually serial entrepreneurs with a very diverse combined background. My domain is actually in art and design, while Nina comes from the cybersecurity industry. We decided to start our boutique publishing house, Cyberlite Books, after realising that no one was teaching kids how to navigate the tricky waters of cyber safety and thus decided to write a book about it! Our company now focuses on educating children about important topics relevant to their digital lives.
2, Can you tell us more about your new book, its uniqueness and what can readers expect from the book?
Our new book, Ready, Get Set, Connect! is a fun and engaging book about cyber safety, jam-packed with activities, games, and whimsical characters, for children ages 8 and up. Readers go on a journey through Cyber Space, where they’ll learn about the dangers of the Phisher family, how to identify online groomers, and stay away from cyberbullies and fake news. They’ll also understand why privacy is so important and meet cyber heroes like Captain Antivirus and Miss 2FA along the way!
Our intention for Ready, Get Set, Connect! is to create an environment where parents and children can engage in a discussion about cybersafety and online behaviours over the dinner table, so it becomes an ongoing conversation as the child gets older. We want kids to be able to identify phishing scams, flag up worrying messages from groomers and cyberbullies, and protect the privacy of their online profiles, so that if they encounter any threats they’re able to ask for help. We’ve designed the book to be really colourful and have exciting activities so that readers can absorb the content in different ways.
3. Who and or what inspired you to come up with the book’s name “Ready, Get Set, Connect!”?
The book’s name was inspired by our vision for the book, which is to prepare young children to be ready to own and use smart devices independently. Nina and I recognise that children are exposed to technology at a really early age, so instead of discouraging them from using devices, we want to empower them and equip them with useful knowledge.
4. How long did you take to work on the book and what are the challenges that you have faced to complete the book?
Nina and I took about 3 months to get the content and illustrations completed, and in hindsight it was relatively smooth considering we were working on it through Covid last year!
The biggest challenge we faced with getting Ready, Get Set, Connect! out there is being given the time and space it needs for real education to take place. We’ve realised that many parents themselves don’t know much about cybersecurity, so it’s not an intuitive subject they’ll go and seek out for their children. However, once they’ve seen the book it’s only then that they realise how important it is. And we don’t blame them – with the ever changing landscape of apps and social media, it’s hard to keep up with new cyber threats and risks, which is why we also provide workshops, webinars, and newsletters to keep parents informed.
5. Please share more about Cyberlite Books, your new startup venture, and the vision for it?
Cyberlite Books was co-founded by Nina Bual and myself, Michelle Yao. We started this business to educate children on relevant topics that matter, but aren’t necessarily taught in school curriculums. Our vision for our startup is to spread awareness through engaging and fun content that will help children learn through play.
6. How can companies participate and contribute to this vision of educating children?
We have an Employee Impact Series at Cyberlite Books where our children’s books offer companies a unique and personal way to engage with professional clients and employees. We work closely with corporates to understand their company culture and customise engagement campaigns to bring their values to life.
It’s become more apparent during Covid that remote work has made us all crave the human connection a little bit more, particularly the connection between employer and employee. With our books, organisations can show their team that they care about their families’ wellbeing, and extend the care into the home.
7. What’s your advice to someone who aspires to be an author like yourself?
My advice would be to just go for it! The internet has made it very accessible for aspiring authors to publish work online and to put your content out there for people to see. If you think you have a great story to tell, you should put it in front of as many people as you can – and social media is a great place for that.
8. Lastly, do you have anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your new book and what’s your next plan/project if any?
Our cybersafety book for children is now available at cyberlitebooks.com! We ship worldwide from Singapore. Do follow us on Instagram (@cyberlitekids) and Facebook (@cyberlitebooks) for new content – we post a lot of parenting and cyber safety tips. We’re also working on a new book on children’s mental health and technology which will be out later this year, so follow us to stay updated!
Thank you Michelle Yao for taking our interview!
Images credit to Nina Bual, Michelle Yao and Cyberlite Books
Ready, Get Set, Connect! is an interesting and informative book that helps to educate kids on digital safety. It is an enjoyable read for our kids, they have fun participating in the various interactive activities in the book and at the same time pick up valuable knowledge of protecting themselves online.