A BAND of trolls are heading into Southampton schools to teach children the dangers of the internet.

In response to "growing and changing" dangers to children online, The Southampton Safeguarding Children Partnership has joined partner agencies to launch a new campaign aimed at teaching 7-11 year olds how to spot and defeat online foes.

A book called Peril of the Possessed Pets has been created for schools and 25,000 free copies are being distributed across Southampton, the Isle of Wight and Hampshire.

A new online home for the trolls has also launched at www.lurkingtrolls.com where children and their parents or carers, can watch cartoons created by Southsea-based animators Rival Animation, listen to a narrated troll tales and get to know the trolls through fact files.

Daily Echo: Pupils from Springhill Catholic Primary School with the Lurking Trolls.Pupils from Springhill Catholic Primary School with the Lurking Trolls.

The campaign has been developed jointly by the Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships (LSCPs) across Hampshire with The Lurking Trolls materials aimed at tackling topics such as exploitation, radicalisation, anxiety and depression, in an "age-appropriate and engaging" way.

Councillor James Baillie, Cabinet Member for Education at Southampton City Council, said: “The internet can be a great place for children to learn about the world around them and connect with friends. Unfortunately, it can also be a place where children and young people can come across things that are worrying, confusing and even harmful.

"This campaign has been designed to give children the knowledge to spot risks online and the confidence to tackle them by speaking to a trusted adult, reporting content and blocking bullies.

“We hope that this creative campaign will get children, young people and grown-ups alike talking about this incredibly important and difficult topic."

Schools across the region being encouraged to use the trolls books, cartoons and accompanying teaching resources to support their teaching of online safety in key stage 2.

Parents and carers are a;p being urged to explore the website with their children and get talking about online safety at home.