Kids need to be PhoneSmart – EE and Dennis Menace are showing them how


By Marc Allera, CEO, BT Consumer division

When should your child get their first phone?

Like me, it will be something every parent and guardian has pondered. A phone can open up a new world of exciting possibilities, but it also exposes children to dangers many of us never had to face as a child.

As a father of three, I know sometimes it's not easy getting your children to listen to the potential dangers of an exciting new device. So I'm really proud to say at EE, we’re teaming up with Beano to help parents and guardians learn how to support and educate their children on responsible phone use and show how our PhoneSmart Licence helps Dennis and Minnie stay safe online.

EE's PhoneSmart Licence is a free course that teaches children and parents how to be kind and safe when they’re using the internet. It's available to anyone on any network – not just EE customers – and is designed to prepare children for the big wide world that a connected device can open up for them by giving them the tools to stay safe and be kind online. It is also designed to give parents and guardians the confidence to prepare their child with the digital skills they need for a brighter future.

The Beano comic strip, which has been specially created in partnership with EE, stars Mr and Mrs Menace and their son Dennis, and brings to life the potential perils of the online world. The comic has been created to provide parents and guardians with actionable tips they can follow to keep their kids safe and help them be kind to others when they’re online.

It tells the story of Dennis picking up his first mobile phone at an EE store  before getting into some characteristic scrapes by making prank calls, uploading a video of his cousin Minnie without her consent and downloading age-inappropriate apps. All of which can happen without the correct guidance. As well as comic japes, the Beano content also provides parents with useful tips and advice to help parents support their children to be a responsible online citizen and to use their phone safely.

As the UK’s best network, we have a responsibility to be there for our customers – and not just in the digital space. I’m so proud of the way our retail colleagues help customers every day in our stores in our communities up and down the UK, treating people like they would want to be treated. So it’s really exciting to see those worlds come together, with Michelle Ager, from our Chelmsford store, immortalised in the Beano comic. Here she is in real life!




Michelle’s appearance in Beanotown coincides Michelle’s appearance in Beanotown coincides with Dennis and Minnie getting their first phones. They (eventually) take her advice and get their EE PhoneSmart Licence, which means they can help keep each other safe with tools including turning off their geolocation (because you should never share your location with strangers), age appropriate web filters, muting, blocking and reporting online hate, and more.

Our EE PhoneSmart Licence takes approximately one hour to complete and features a range of engaging storylines and interactive quizzes and activities. It highlights the benefits and dangers of tech use and provides a platform for children to understand how to report instances of online abuse, hate, discrimination and cyberbullying. We created PhoneSmart in collaboration with experts from Internet Matters, and in consultation with Home-Start, ChildNet, Marie Collins Foundation and the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

EE teaming up with Beano comes hot on the heels of EE’s Hope United campaign that ran alongside this summer’s UEFA Women's European Championships and brought together a team of elite footballers united to tackle online sexist hate with a series of digital skills.

It’s so important that we play our part in helping educate young people. That’s why EE will continue to help shape a safer online world, giving others the confidence and knowhow they need for a brighter future.

Search EE PhoneSmart to access the free online course and visit ee.co.uk/beano to watch the animated Beano comic .

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @marcallera