RTÉ launches a new kids' animated series on online safety, while Virgin Media adds YouTube Kids app

Young people's online safety - and empathy - is a priority for many parents as social media and online consumption continues to change
RTÉ launches a new kids' animated series on online safety, while Virgin Media adds YouTube Kids app

Alva - the star of a show all about online safety

As the kids are heading back to school, RTÉ's Young People's Department has today premiered a new, Irish-made series to teach children about online safety and empathy, on its RTÉjr station and RTÉ Player. 

Created by Kavaleer Productions, Alva’s World blazes a trail by placing internet safety at the heart of programming for younger children. The series will also be broadcast on Sky Kids from October 18.

Working with Irish charity CyberSafeKids, the show aims to teach kids about appropriate behaviour online, including interaction, as well as common childhood problems they may encounter through social media. 

Recent research by CyberSafeKids shows that even by age eight, almost 50% of kids have some form of internet-enabled device, and 45% are already using some form of social media.

Alva and family in Alva's World
Alva and family in Alva's World

Andrew Kavanaugh of Kavaleer says: “Alva’s World is the first television series focused on providing digital water-wings for children. The series tackles a number of key areas, from cyber-bullying and online gaming to identity theft and current issues around COVID tracking and home learning. The characters and storylines have been developed to equip kids with the online wellbeing tools they need via safe, non-threatening entertainment."

Philip Arneill from CyberSafeKids adds: “Alva's World is an exciting new project which we at CyberSafeKids were happy to have been able to be involved in. It's an engaging, direct and age-appropriate way to target younger children, through a medium they love, to start developing healthy online habits and responsible digital citizenship as they begin their online journeys.”

  • Alva's World is on RTÉ Jr, Monday to Friday, at 8:30am, 2pm and 6.25pm; and on-demand at RTÉ Player.
  • Check out this Saturday's Irish Examiner for a free booklet featuring Alva and her family's top tips for online safety in a changing social media and gaming environment!

Alva and friends, on the cover of a special booklet free with this Saturday's Irish Examiner
Alva and friends, on the cover of a special booklet free with this Saturday's Irish Examiner

The news comes as Virgin Media has also added the YouTube Kids app to its Virgin TV 360 platform - granting parents greater control and piece of mind over their kids' viewing on the popular platform.

Dividing content into Shows, Music, Explore and Gaming, the app also allows families to monitor and be exposed to curated, age-appropriate content across Preschool, Younger and Older categories.

  • YouTube Kids is now on Virgin TV 360 users' set-top box by going to the Apps section on the main menu, and going to 'Our Selection'.

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