Irish animator Kavaleer’s latest creation teaches kids about online safety

6 Sep 2021

Gary Timpson and Andrew Kavanagh, Kavaleer Productions. Image: Kavaleer Productions.

According to Kavaleer, the new TV series will focus on ‘providing digital water-wings for children’ as they begin their online adventures.

An Irish animation company has teamed up with CyberSafeKids to create a cartoon teaching children the importance of online safety and empathy.

Kavaleer Productions is based in Dublin and employs around 60 people. The animation company’s new cartoon Alva’s World was broadcast on RTÉjr for the first time today (6 September). The series will also be broadcast on Sky Kids from mid-October.

Andrew Kavanagh, show creator and CEO of Kavaleer, said the series would be the first television series “focused on providing digital water-wings for children.”

“The series tackles a number of key areas, from cyberbullying and online gaming to identity theft and current issues around Covid-19 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,” Kavanagh added.

Alva’s World was commissioned by RTÉjr and Finnish broadcasting company YLE. It was produced in association with Screen Ireland, The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and BCP Asset Management. It received funding from Creative Europe’s Media strand, which funds audiovisual projects based in the EU.

Kavaleer created the show based on research done by CyberSafeKids, which showed that almost 50pc of kids have some form of internet accessible device by the age of eight. Furthermore, 45pc are already using some form of social media.

Alva’s World attempts to teach kids about the kind of problems or challenges they may encounter online, albeit in a light-hearted way. The protagonist of the cartoon, Alva, likes to visit her friends the Oolies in the magical land of Gizmo. Together they have adventures and battle against the Trolls, who are Gizmo’s less friendly inhabitants.

Philip Arneill from CyberSafeKids said the programme was “an engaging, direct and age-appropriate way to target younger children, through a medium they love.”

He added that it would help children develop “healthy online habits and responsible digital citizenship as they begin their online journeys.”

“We feel it’s an important show and embodies the Kavaleer ethos of supporting young hearts and minds to thrive,” Kavanagh concluded.

Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic