O2 announces free internet safety book for UK schools

As part of Safer Internet Week, O2 in conjunction with Childnet International has announced the publication of ‘who wnts 2 no?’, a children’s story on internet safety. The book for 8-12 year olds was jointly written by best selling children’s authors Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore. It will be published on 5th March and is free to schools and libraries which can order copies from today. They can order copies, plus promotional posters and stickers, at www.o2.com/thecybernuts.

‘Who wnts 2 no?’ is a story about 3 school friends Dud, Zip and Mouse, together known as the Cybernuts. Dud thinks he has found a foolproof way of getting rich quick by giving away his personal details online. Zip and Mouse aren’t convinced. The book has been written to inspire children to read for enjoyment but also contains a more serious message that whilst the online world can bring benefits children can be at risk from unwanted contact, inappropriate behaviour and potentially harmful content.

Steve Barlow / one of the book’s authors said “We had a brief to alert kids to the need to use the internet and mobile phones safely, but we didn’t want to be preachy or doom-laden: we also wanted to write a good story which would be fun to read. We hope, with the excellent illustrations of the inestimable Geo Parkin, that we’ve managed to achieve all that.”

Mike Short, Vice President at O2 and an Executive Board member of the UK Council on Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) said, “The internet is an integral part of every day life for most young people with countless benefits including entertaining ways to communicate and learn as well as creating, consuming and sharing content. But as with all technology there are those who mis-use it. Children should be able to experience the benefits but be alert to the risks and know how to protect themselves online. This book supports our other Mobile Internet initiatives to help illustrate to parents and children the benefits of online technology and mobile access to the web whilst staying safe from inappropriate contact or content.”

Jonathan Douglas, director, National Literacy Trust said: “Literacy skills are absolutely vital in enabling children to fulfil their potential. Reading helps develop these life changing skills, and it has never been so important to celebrate children’s reading online through initiatives such as ‘Who wnts 2 no?’ The wider the variety of formats in which children read, the richer is their experience of reading.”

To further support European Safer Internet Dday, fifteen O2 employees have also begun a volunteering programme in collaboration with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in which they will deliver a series of safer internet workshops in UK primary schools. Their workshops will deliver CEOP’s internet safety education programme, which supports learning for Key Stage 3.

More details on O2’s other child protection initiatives which include the development of technical tools such as internet filtering, specialist support for customers through O2’s Nuisance Call Bureau and advice for parents and schools can be found at www.o2.co.uk/protectourchildren