Portsmouth children to learn about online dangers in digital world in new fun project based on trolls

CHILDREN are set to learn about online dangers with the launch of a fun project based on trolls designed to help them combat potential hazards in the digital world.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 11:31 am

The new regional campaign by the Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Partnership and partner agencies is targeting children aged seven to 11 in how to spot and defeat online foes.

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Youngsters will learn about important issues such as bullying, body image and fake news in a variety of ways - including through a terrifying band of trolls set to arrive in schools and libraries across Hampshire.

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A book titled the Peril of the Possessed Pets has also been created for schools and libraries with 25,000 free copies being distributed across the region.

A new online home for the trolls has launched at lurkingtrolls.com.

On the website children, as well as their parents and carers, can watch troll cartoons created by Southsea-based animators Rival Animation, listen to narrated troll tales and get to know the trolls through fun fact files about 11 different tricky trolls.

Characters including Tormentor, Instarr and Medior have been created to bring to life issues children may face. Through the trolls, children can learn to identify potential dangers and what to do if they are worried, upset or confused about something encountered online.

New trolls book, cartoons and websites help children in Portsmouth learn to spot potential dangers online. Pic: Portsmouth City Council

The project also aims to tackle challenging topics including exploitation, radicalisation, anxiety and depression in an appropriate way for children.

Derek Benson, chair of the Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Safeguarding Children Partnerships, said: ‘Learning about online safety has never been more important. Over the past year we've all seen how being online helps us connect with others and supports learning and development.

‘Unfortunately, the internet can also present risks so it's vital that children and young people learn about possible dangers and difficulties and how to combat them.’

Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council and the authority’s child and education boss, said: ‘The internet should be a fun, safe space for children to explore, engage with friends and learn more about the world around them.

‘Unfortunately, we know that children and young people will sometimes come across things online that are harmful, worrying or confusing.

‘We want to give children the confidence to spot risks or problems online and know how to tackle them - by taking action like speaking to a trusted adult, reporting content and blocking bullies. We hope this campaign will get families talking about online safety and add to the ways in which schools can tackle this incredibly important, and sometimes difficult, topic in an entertaining way.’

To find out more go to lurkingtrolls.com

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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