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New book shares data safety message with Bailiwick children

Published: 21 September 2023

The Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) has published a children’s book which is to be distributed to all Bailiwick Year 4 children.

“Warro goes on an adventure” uses the power of storytelling to introduce children and young people to the concept of personal data and how it is used in our everyday lives, through the character of Warro the data bear and her companion Bijou the blue tit.

Warro means “Hi” in Guernsey’s native language Guernésiais and was chosen because young children learn that many question words begin with the letter ‘W’. It is hoped that the book will encourage children to think about the data they share by asking four simple questions, “Who is asking, what do they want to know, why do they want it, where will it go?”.

Bijou accompanies Warro and helps her on her journey. His name is a reference to Project Bijou, the ODPA’s social initiative to encourage engagement by sharing stories and experiences related to ethical data use. Bijou is a blue tit because these birds are known for their ability to share information with each other for the benefit of the species as a whole, behaviour which inspired Project Bijou.

The book was the brainchild of ODPA outreach officer Kirsty Bougourd, a qualified teacher with a background in journalism and a passion for engaging with children in a world which is increasingly technologically and data dependent.

The Bailiwick’s Data Protection Commissioner Emma Martins commented:

“We want to do all we can to encourage inclusive, positive conversations around data that remind us that at its heart, it is about human beings – how we are treated and how we treat each other. Stories play such an important role in shaping a common understanding and people, particularly children, are more likely to engage with new and complex ideas when wrapped within a compelling narrative. We also believe it is important to understand and cater for the diversity in our audience and traditional methods of awareness raising/engagement do not work effectively for everyone, especially children. We want the next generation to feel interested, involved, empowered, and to care by fueling their interest and imaginations.”

The book is part of the ODPA’s programme for children and young people, Project Bijou Seeds, an offshoot of the social initiative Project Bijou. The ODPA hopes Warro will help plant seeds of thought into young minds to encourage this cultural shift in the way we treat personal information as a society, to prevent harm and promote the human values underpinning data protection legislation.

Published by local company Blue Ormer, “Warro goes on an adventure” will be launched with a reading for schoolchildren at the Guille Alles Library on 25th September. Bailiwick Data Protection Commissioner Emma Martins will be available to speak to media from 14:45 – 15:15 in the Hayward Room.

Discover Warro at: www.odpa.gg/warro.