Bold Content Safer Internet Day with TechSheCan

Safer Internet Day with TechSheCan

We wanted to introduce the latest addition to the “Katie and Tex” series of animated videos, which we have created in collaboration with the charity Tech She Can. This seventh episode, sponsored by Morgan Stanley, is focused on a critical topic in today’s digital world: internet safety and cyber security.

This episode aims to educate young children just how important it is to be safe online, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves in a world that is increasingly connected. In order to make the concept understandable to children, the episode has been developed using easily understandable language, and visuals that children would recognise, such as video games.

With a focus on inspiring the next generation of young people, especially young girls, to pursue careers in technology, this episode is part of a larger initiative aimed at promoting the field to young people and encouraging greater diversity and inclusivity within the industry. This episode will be shown to over 13,000 primary school students across the UK on Tuesday, February 7th. This will provide an exciting opportunity for young people to learn about internet safety in a fun and engaging way. 

The episode has been nominated for a prestigious BETT award in the category of “Primary – Free Digital Content, App or Open Educational Resource,” further emphasising the impact and value of this resource for schools and parents alike. Our animation producer Hannah Collins is available for interviews about the series and the impact it has had on young people’s understanding of internet safety and cyber security. This episode is a vital step towards ensuring that young people are aware of the dangers online and have the skills to protect themselves from a very young age.

Episode overview

Before writing the script and to ensure the terminology was correct, we held meetings with industry experts in cyber security who specialise in educating youngsters on the topic.

It was important for us to contextualise the idea into a setting children would be familiar with. By relating a computer to a birthday party, something most children understand from preschool, we could explain the idea of having access to a ‘site’ and how experts protect these sites from unwanted or undetected entry by hackers.

The game was a particularly fun part of the creative process for us, giving us the opportunity to explore a different animation style. The pixelated 8-bit characters are not only an homage to early animation aesthetics but make it easier for the children to distinguish between the world of Katie and Tex, and the game. We took inspiration from contemporary interpretations of the style such as ‘Wreck It Ralph’, an animation that children might be familiar with.

The sound design, including a music track for the game, was bespoke for the episode. Incorporating sound effects from retro games was a nostalgic addition to bring the game to life! Representation and diversity is key in this series to ensure that youngsters feel seen, and can connect with the characters on screen. Our team designed a host of pixel art characters to portray people from different religious faiths and ethnicities, and with disabilities.

We also reimagined the star of our previous episode, Ava, as an 8-bit character. Ava is a young girl from Salford with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair, so this was a perfect opportunity to further represent other young people who live with this condition.

As well as being visually interesting, the game aspect meant that we could explain the different aspects of cyber security in a top-down view which was easy for children to digest. Giving the audience an overhead view of the entire birthday party allowed us to show the ethical hacker patrolling around the building. The animation shows him checking signs of potential access; closing open windows to eliminate discrete access inside and checking party invitations were legitimate before allowing them inside.

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