A new mobile game that helps young people stay safe online has been given the ‘thumbs-up’ by youngsters in Burton.

The ‘Kash Dash’ app, which has been designed by the Office of Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, features Staffordshire police dogs Emma and Jasper, and former police dog and force mascot Kash.

Riverside Church-based Riverside Youth Group has been playing the game during their weekly Friday-evening sessions.

Niamh Pusey

Niamh Pusey

With game-play similar to the popular mobile game ‘Flappy Bird’, the aim of ‘Kash Dash’ is to help youngsters stay safe online via onscreen messaging about cyber-bullying, stranger danger and privacy settings.

At the end of each round, the player gets a score which might see them promoted to a higher police rank whilst useful links also provide information about local police and an option to sign up to email alerts.

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said: “We must find ways to better connect youngsters with information on how to stay safe online. Rather than asking them to find their way to us this game takes vital safety messages to them using technology which is familiar.

“We need to be smarter in how we engage with youngsters and this new game will do that whilst communicating clear messages to help protect them. It’s fun but includes serious messages.

Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said: “Online safety is increasingly a major concern for parents and educating children in this area is a priority for the force.

“Police dogs are always popular with pupils when they visit schools as part of our work in local communities so combining them with online safety messages is a winning combination.”

So far, there have been 1,500 downloads of the app and 3,100 clicks-through to safety websites.

Riverside Youth Group member Niamh Pusey, aged 15, said: “I’m totally addicted to it and at level 44, I just can’t stop playing it.”

Niamh’s brother Michael Pusey, aged 18, said: “This is an awesome game with good advice.”

Daryl Williams, Leader of Riverside Youth Group, said: “This is such a good idea, there is nothing like this out there that gives young people advice and points them to where they can get help.”

The game can be downloaded for free on Android and Apple via http://bit.ly/kashdash