09 Jan 2018
A national campaign to help keep young children safe from sexual abuse has been launched by the NSPCC with the release of a new mobile phone game and the screening of a prime-time TV ad.
Central to the campaign is the return of Pantosaurus the dinosaur, who will once again be promoting the PANTS rule - Privates are private, Always remember your body belongs to you, No means no, Talk about secrets that upset you and Speak up – someone can help.
‘Playtime with Pantosaurus’ is available on iOS and Android devices as a free download and features four fun mini games where players test their skills against Pantosaurus and his friends whilst learning the PANTS rule to keep themselves safe.
Children can select from three characters that each challenge Pantosaurus on the basketball court or in the diving pool to earn points and win prizes.
Each of the playable characters is customisable with their own outfits and styles, with further accessories and outfits available to unlock as children progress through the game.
In between each level children are quizzed on the PANTS rule to help reinforce their understanding of how to stay safe from sexual abuse.
Supporting the launch of the game is a new national TV advert aimed at parents titled ‘There’s something you need to tell me’ which explains that talking PANTS is ‘easy, not scary, but it is important’, which was first screened on Monday evening (Jan 8).
Research by the NSPCC has revealed that as many as one in every twenty school children will suffer some form of sexual abuse while Police Scotland recorded a total of 4,368 sexual offences against children in 2015-16, a seven per cent rise on the previous year.
The importance of the Talk PANTS campaign has been further reinforced by a YouGov survey, commissioned by the NSPCC, which showed that 92% of parents of children aged four to eight think that it is important to speak to their sons or daughters about sexual abuse.
Directing children to the PANTS game or downloading the PANTS activity pack from the NSPCC website will help make it easier and more natural for parents to have what some find to be difficult and sensitive conversations about staying safe.
The Mummy Diaries star Sam Faiers, who is supporting the Talk PANTS campaign, said: “As a mum to two young children nothing is more important to me than keeping them safe.
“By talking PANTS regularly with my children as they grow, I’m confident they can keep safe from abuse and that they would talk to me about anything that’s upsetting them.”
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “Most parents now recognise that they need to speak to their young children about the dangers they may face from sexual abuse, both in the online and real world, as they grow up.
“However, the reality of having these conversations can be both daunting and very uncomfortable. That is why the NSPCC has created the Talk PANTS campaign and continues to develop new ways for Pantosaurus to help young children learn how to stay safe from sexual abuse.”
The NSPCC Talk PANTS campaign will run on television, Video On Demand and Social channels until 31 January.