NZ cartoon policeman and dolphin to warn UK children about online paedophiles

Child abuse experts are targeting children as young as five for the first time to teach them about the dangers of online paedophiles.

Pupils in primary schools across the country will be introduced to Hector's World, a series of five animated characters including Hector the dolphin and PC Jim, who will explore how to use the internet safely.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre has taken the idea from New Zealand, where authorities have found the cartoons to be helpful in teaching children about the dangers of using the internet.

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New teaching resources aimed at helping primary school children surf the web safely have been launched.

Figures from regulator Ofcom suggest 500,000 five to seven-year-olds are allowed to go online unsupervised.

NZ animations used to warn UK kids about paedophiles (+ photos)
New Zealand computer animations in which a dolphin named Hector warns children as young as five about the dangers of on-line paedophiles are to be used in Britain.

NZ software to help keep British kids safe
Kiwi-designed software that uses animated characters to help keep children safe in cyberspace is spreading internationally, with British authorities poised to introduce it in schools.

NZ's Hector Protector® swims north to help UK children stay safe [news release]

Media release from Hector's World Ltd.

Embargoed until:

THURSDAY 8 MAY 2008 21:00 New Zealand local time

Today, in a London primary school, New Zealand's internationally recognised online safety education, Hector's World™ is being launched as the core online-safety resource for 5-7 year olds throughout the United Kingdom.

UK law enforcement agency, CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) has chosen the NZ-born educational resource as their key resource for keeping younger children safe from sexual abuse and grooming online.

From May 8th, Hector's World™ animated episodes and resources will be integrated into CEOP's ThinkUKnow education programme ( which to date has provided online safety education for 8-16 year olds. Since its launch in 2006, CEOP's ThinkUKnow education programme has reached 1.7 million children and young people across all parts of the UK.

Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the CEOP Centre says, “We know that children are now using the internet at an increasingly young age. Recent research, coupled with feedback from our own youth panel and work with parents, show that children are exploring the online world from as young as five years old.

“Teachers have asked us for this material because it is never too early to start giving children 'safety first' messages: in the same way that we teach small children to cross the road safely, there is a need to ensure that young children learn good habits for a future life online. If we give them early lessons in a way that is engaging, relevant and fun, we can help to safeguard young children online not only now but well into the future.

“We are delighted that working in partnership with New Zealand's internet safety group, NetSafe, has enabled us to bring the inspirational and engaging characters from Hector's World™ to UK children. We hope that every primary school in the UK will open its doors to Hector's World for the benefit of all 5-7 year old children.”

Liz Butterfield, Managing Director of Hector's World™ Ltd. says, “Helping young children understand how to protect their personal information is key to keeping children safe from a number of risks online, including grooming for sexual abuse, cyber-stalking, identity theft, cyberbullying, fraud, scams, spam, and much more.”

“Every email, social networking website, game registration website, blog, website visit, and text message is about giving out personal information. Learning how to protect your personal information online is a fundamental skill for children today, especially considering the popularity of social networking sites and the downward trend in the age children first access the internet. Hector's World™ education offers the 'building blocks' of the skills and values children will need online”.

Hector's World™ episodes and resources have been localised for the UK. These changes have included the replacement of the urban-Pacific Constable Solosolave with the Lancashire 'bobby on the beat' PC Jim.

The UK launch of Hector's World™ begins with a media event at a central London primary school where Hector's World™ material will be presented to class of six year olds.

“This launch is something we can all be proud of as this Kiwi child-safety resource goes out to help children all around the world stay safe online”, says Ms Butterfield.


For further comment:

Hector's World™ – Rachel Harrison 021 333 198 ( )

CEOP Centre – Miriam Rich, Hannah Bickers or Clive Michel +44 0870 000 3434 ( )


What is Hector's World™?

Hector's World™ is a visually stunning and effective online safety education programme for children aged 2-10 years and their families. Hector's World™ Ltd. (HWL) is a charitable subsidiary of New Zealand's internet safety group, NetSafe.

Hector's World™ in the UK

Hector's World™ is being launched across Britain by the UK Governmental organisation CEOP Centre (the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre). Hector's World™ is CEOP's chosen resource for 5-7 year olds and will be promoted across UK primary schools after the launch.

CEOP Centre

The CEOP Centre is the UK's dedicated organisation for tackling the sexual abuse of children and is a partner of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), a multi-country law enforcement organisation dedicated to protecting children from sexual exploitation online. The CEOP Centre uses a multi-pronged approach to tackle the sexual abuse of children online which includes gathering and sharing intelligence, executing operations, and harm reduction through their Thinkuknow education programme (

Over the last year, the CEOP Centre has removed 131 children from sexual abuse, arrested 297 suspected child sex offenders, and processed around 1 million images of child sexual abuse. Since its launch in 2006, CEOP's ThinkUKnow education programme has reached 1.7 million children and young people between the ages of 8 and 16 years across all parts of the UK. (for further information see )

Why Focus on Younger Children?

While younger children's use of technology maybe quite advanced, developmentally they will have challenges in recognising and responding effectively to risk online.

The Kaiser Family Foundation's 2006 study The Media Family: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers and their Parents offers fascinating statistics about the increase in internet and computer use by very young children.

  • Children using a computer every day: Age 2-3 (4%), Age 4-6 (13%)
  • Of the 26% of children 4-6 years old who use a computer in a typical day, 27% did so without a parent in the room
  • 10% of 4-6 year-olds had gone to websites by themselves.
  • Several factors are helping to accelerate this social change:
  • Broadband is more accessible for both schools and families.
  • Early childhood education services are coming online.
  • Children are living in a multi-media environment that is accessed from a variety of devices, including television sets, mobile phones and gaming consoles.
  • Entertainment and toy companies are starting to market online products to very young children, e.g. Disney's recent purchase of Club Penguin, a social networking site for under 10's.

This news release is also available from the Netsafe website at

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