Next Tuesday, 8th February, marks this year’s Safer Internet Day (more on that soon), and the BBC is getting behind the initiative on both CBBC and CBeebies.
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.
n 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.
At the same time, Dr Tanya Byron will write a blog for parents on the CBeebies web site about keeping young children safe online, while a Newsround special, “Caught in the Web Again”, highlights potential online dangers.
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?