A Hampshire mother has designed an innovative new app which aims to protect children from the perils of the internet.
Stella James, of Rotherwick, near Hook, designed the app after her eldest son got his first mobile phone when he started secondary school.
The single mother, who runs a business-to-business agency in Rotherwick, launched the app just before the New Year, which is for children aged nine to 13.
“I started looking around for ways to help my own children and those of my wider family stay safe online,” she said.
“I could track their activity, but I wanted to do more than that – I wanted them to be aware of the dangers in the first place.
“As a child I was bullied for three years and this is something that I don’t want my child to experience.”
The game, Gooseberry Planet, allows the player to travel through a virtual world where they are confronted by situations and their internet initiative is tested.
During the game they collect stars and meet characters who may ask them to be their friend.
As the game progresses, the questions gradually get more sinister and suspect individuals try to gain the trust of the player.
The game informs children how to block people online, how to manage webcams and how to work social media.
And parents can get a free parallel parent app which tracks the child’s progress through the game.
Ms James, 43, added: “I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t find the kind of tool I had in my mind.
“I sat down one night in September 2013, started scribbling on a scrap of paper – and Gooseberry Planet was born.
“I have funded it myself as I believe in its ability to help educate children about online safety.
“If I can help add to children’s safety online, I will have achieved my mission.”
Now Ms James plans to get the game into schools and is in talks with local businesses to try and get sponsorship.
The app can be downloaded from iTunes, gooseberryplanet.com and Google Play.