Katie Piper & Tesco Mobile team up to raise awareness of digital exclusion
Katie Piper OBE, best-selling author, TV presenter and philanthropist, has teamed up with Tesco Mobile to release the first children’s infinite zoom e-book – designed to raise awareness about the importance of digital connectivity.
Inspired by first-hand accounts from anti-poverty charity, the Trussell Trust, ‘Alfie’s Magic Phone’ follows the tale of a young boy living without connectivity, access to data or internet connection at home, whose world is transformed when he discovers a magical phone that transports him to ‘Dataville’.
Alfie’s experience of being cut off from loved ones, locked out of life-changing services and held back through a lack of connection is one shared by 1.7m million households currently living with no broadband or mobile internet access at home in the UK today*.
This colourful journey, brought to life by illustrator Tom McLaughlin, unfolds through infinite zoom technology – a feature encouraging readers to look beyond the surface and ‘zoom in’ to uncover the real story.
Bringing this technology to an e-book for the first time, Alfie’s Magic Phone was designed to engage and educate families who might take their own digital connection for granted. By encouraging readers to find out more about the digital divide, they can help to make sure more families get access to interactive learning.
Research by Tesco Mobile reveals almost all parents of primary school aged children asked (90%) admit that connection is now vital to their child’s development through school, with over two-thirds (79%) revealing that their child’s homework requires connection to complete it.
The report also revealed two thirds (66%) of parents with children (age 15 and under) admit their children would feel left out if they didn’t have good access to the internet, with more than three quarters (78%) of parents stating that their children make plans to meet up via phones and social media, with more than a third (37%) doing so regularly.
To help create the story, Katie collaborated with the Trussell Trust and consulted people with lived experience of poverty, to anchor her story in the realities of facing financial hardship and digital exclusion.
Author, Katie Piper, said: “I am thrilled to work with Tesco Mobile and the Trussell Trust on this children’s book. This illustrated educational tale explores a new interactive format that could one day become the norm in schools. No family should be left behind due to digital exclusion. This is more than just a story; it’s a tool for change, helping those of us who can take being connected for granted to understand the importance of connectivity for every family across the UK.”
Beyond the fictional world of Alfie and his Magic Phone, Tesco Mobile has also pledged to connect 50,000 people facing financial hardship by 2025 through its Little Helps Databank.
Jonathan Taylor, CEO of Tesco Mobile, said, “We are immensely proud to join forces with the Trussell Trust and Katie Piper to address the issue of digital exclusion among families around the UK in such a poignant way.”
“Our Little Helps Databank is helping to create a brighter future where every child has equal access to the digital world and the endless possibilities for storytelling that it holds. Through this one-of-a-kind book, we are harnessing the power of digital storytelling to speak to people who have the power to join our fight and ensure no family is left behind.”
In addition, the mobile network has donated devices and data to support the Trussell Trust’s foodbank network, to help the charity provide services as effectively as possible in the face of unprecedented need, as more people find their incomes do not cover the cost of essentials like heating, food and connectivity.
Emma Revie, CEO of the Trussell Trust, commented, “We should all have enough money for the essentials like food, household bills and internet connection. But right now, in the UK more and more people don’t have enough to live on and have no option but to use a food bank. This simply isn’t right. This book and Alfie’s story sheds a light on connection as one of life’s essentials and on our fantastic partnership with Tesco Mobile, which is helping to keep people facing hardship in our communities connected.”
**According to a 2023 report by Lords communications and Digital Committee
Email this article to a friend
You need to be logged in to use this feature.
Please log in here