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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Tracy Beaker helps BBC Children's mark Safer Internet Day

The cast of Tracy Beaker Returns (L to R) Kay Purcell as Gina, Jessie Williams as Lily, Saffron Coomber as Sapphire, Philip Graham Scott as Harry, Amy-Leigh Hickman  as Carmen, Dani Harmer as Tracy Beaker, Noah Marullo as Gus, Mia McKenna-Bruce as Tee, Joe Maw as Johnny, John Bell as Toby, Richard Wisker as Liam, Christopher Slater as Frank and Connor Byrne as Mike

BBC Children's is throwing its weight behind Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 8 February by hosting a range of initiatives across CBeebies and CBBC.

CBBC will air three interactive webisodes of its hit show Tracy Beaker Returns. Covering online relationships, cyberbullying and illegal downloads the webisodes aim to promote online media best practice and media literacy. Whilst CBeebies will feature a blog, written by Dr Tanya Byron, on how to keep young children safe online and advising parents how they can prepare their children to become safe independent internet users as they grow older.

Each of the 10-minute Tracy Beaker stories allows the user to choose from a variety of options which assist the main characters through the narrative, helping them to make decisions as various dilemmas are presented to them. The story will unfold according to the options chosen, with each choice resulting in a different outcome and ending. The episodes have the approval of Jacqueline Wilson, the bestselling author who originally created the character Tracy Beaker.

In addition the website will also host a live webchat with Saffron Coomber who plays Sapphire alongside an internet safety expert from Childnet. There will also be updated information on the CBBC Stay Safe section of the site.

On air the CBBC channel will also screen a Newsround Special: Caught In The Web Again which highlights the potential dangers that can be found online.

Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Children's, said: "Children feel much more at home with new technologies and platforms than adults do, and as well as providing them with huge advantages and possibilities, that creates new risks as well. Giving children the information they need to safely get the most out of online content is a big priority for BBC Children's, and our content on Safer Internet Day, and every day, aims to give them tools, reassurance and support they need to stay safe on the internet."

Commenting on the Tracy Beaker webisodes Damian Kavanagh, Controller CBBC, said: "CBBC is truly multiplatform and we engage with our viewers on a daily basis through our top-rating website. It is therefore vitally important that we play our part in promoting internet safety. By using one of our most popular shows as the basis for the stories, we hope our viewers will learn more about potential dangers online."

Notes to Editors

The three webisodes are:

Come alone, Carmen
When Carmen is given a new smartphone she quickly starts using the social networking facility on the phone and becomes slightly obsessed with a new friend, "Joe", to the detriment of her real friendship with Lily. As the drama unfolds, the viewer helps Lily make key decisions using the interactive interface. Will Lily let Carmen go and meet Joe? Should she go with her? Or is it best to tell Tracy what is going on? Carmen's fate is in Lily's hands, and also the viewers.

Sapphire is looking forward to a date with her boyfriend, Jay, when she receives a text message. It simple says "U R dumped". The hurtful text messages continue to arrive, and her phone, once her prized possession, becomes a weapon in the hands of someone else. As she turns for help from the other children in the house, she finds she has been ostracised, and she doesn't understand why. As the pressure mounts on Sapphire, and the barrage of hateful text messages continues, the viewer must help her stay in control of her emotions, and regain the trust and support of her housemates.

Beg, Borrow or Steal
Downloading music via the internet is now the number one method of acquiring music. In the final story, Liam and Frank want to have a party, and boastfully claim they will be playing music to everyone's taste. Realising they have no music whatsoever; they explore the various options open to them. The interactive interface allows the viewer to persuade Liam and Frank to either follow a legal path, or delve into the murky depths of illegal file-sharing websites. Will the party be a success? Will they have the coolest music? And what will be the consequences if they don't stay on the right side of the law?


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