A NEW online safety resource has been launched to prevent children becoming victims of online grooming, radicalisation and exploitation.

Dorothy Com is the character at the forefront of the new resource created by Essex Police and the Dot Com Children’s Foundation.

The project launched at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School in South Ockendon after 45 year six children from the school took part in a workshop last year to put forward ideas and create content.

Dot Com Digital aims to prevent children becoming victims of online grooming, radicalisation, exploitation and bullying by giving them the confidence to recognise the signs and reach out to an adult for help.

The resource also uses up to date technology to highlight to teachers children who may be at higher risk of becoming a victim of crime.

The pupils at Holy Cross are among 2,000 children at six schools across Essex, London, Stoke, Birmingham and North Wales who will take part in a pilot before Dot Com Digital is rolled out nationally in October.

Dot Com Digital is an enhanced online version of an education programme Dot Com Children’s Foundation has been using successfully for 15 years.

Aimed at primary school children aged nine to 11, the new digital version sees pupils take part in online safety lessons before completing their own personal digital journal.

Cartoon character Dot and her friends help children learn about risks they might encounter in the digital world and give them the chance to ask their teacher for a ‘Dot Com Minute’ to discuss any worries or concerns they might have.

It also teaches children to recognise their own body signs of danger and understand their feelings and how to manage them.

Alerts highlighting children who have written or drawn material that could indicate they are at risk are automatically made available to the teacher and the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.

The project began in 2017 when it was identified that an innovative approach was needed to tackle online threats against young people.

BJ Harrington, Essex Chief Constable, said: “Children can be among the most vulnerable in our community, but sadly it is a reality that online threats against them are increasing.

“This is not an issue that one single agency can tackle effectively and I am proud to be part of a partnership that is so passionate about doing all it can to protect young people.

“Dot Com Digital takes an innovative approach to help children recognise the signs of grooming.”