Support from Harrogate schools for our First News Look Up! campaign

The First News Look Up! campaign is a newly-launched community drive in conjunction with our sister titles across JPI Media and aims to warn school children about the dangers of crossing roads while using mobile phones.

By Lucy Chappell
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 3:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 3:58 pm

Although many people are distracted by mobile phones, children are the most affected.

A total of 36 child pedestrians have been killed or seriously injured in North Yorkshire in the past five years, official figures show.

Safety experts are increasingly concerned about the rise of ‘smombies’ - smartphone zombies - who are distracted by their phone screens while navigating busy streets.

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The First News Look Up! campaign is a newly-launched community drive that aims to warn school children about dangers of crossing roads while using phones

Now award-winning children’s newspaper First News is warning young people about the dangers of crossing the road while using their mobiles.

It is asking children to design posters which will be sent to all primary and secondary schools nationwide as part of a pack of resources.

All schools will be asked to hold the assembly in the summer or autumn term warning children of the dangers of mobile phone distraction while navigating roads.

Nicky Cox, editor in chief of First News, said: “For many years it has been clear that there is a link between pedestrians being distracted by mobile phones and road collisions.

“Data shows children travelling to, and from, school are at most risk.

“With 2.6 million children reading First News each week, we felt we had a real responsibility to warn them of the dangers and urge them to Look Up!”

In North Yorkshire there have been 258 accidents in the past five years where police found a pedestrian had failed to look, according to official figures.

A number of schools across the Harrogate district are backing the campaign to teach their pupils about the dangers of using their mobile phones by the roadside.

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Mrs Sylvia Brett, Principal of Harrogate Ladies’ College, welcomes the initiative and believes it is important that children learn of the dangers.

She said: “The safety of children on our roads is a matter for us all, and I applaud the campaign to highlight the dangers of being distracted by technology.

“All too often children are side-tracked by their phone and I would urge parents to make everyone aware of this important campaign.”

Western Primary School are also backing the campaign.

They said: "As Western Primary school is set alongside a very busy road, we treat road safety as a serious issue.

"We have been active in securing Vehicle Activated 20 mph signs outside the school and we promote walking to school where possible.

"Pupils are taught about road safety and the children in Years 5 and 6 will be learning about the “Look Up!” campaign during their assembly time."

The Look Up! campaign is being supported by JPI Media, the publisher of this newspaper and website.

Harrogate Advertiser Excellence in Business Awards makes a welcome return this summerJPI Media managing editor Tim Robinson said: "It's terrifying how many children are killed or injured on the roads and we all need to do what we can to stop this.

"The First News Look Up campaign is a really important step to educate children and their parents about the dangers of using a mobile phone while walking.

"We're really committed to this partnership with First News and want to do everything to help spread the word to the kids of Britain."

Global non-profit organisation Safe Kids Worldwide is backing the call.

A spokesperson said: “Every hour of every day, a teen is hit or killed while walking.

“Texting and walking can be fatal and that’s why we’re asking everyone to put phones down when crossing the street.”

National accident data shows those aged 11 to 14 are the most likely to be killed or badly hurt – around 50 every month.

Accidents peak between 8am and 9am and again from 3pm to 4pm, when young people are making their journey to and from school.

The figures show that children aged 11 and 12 are the most at risk of serious accidents while walking on Britain’s streets.

A total of 801 11-year-old pedestrians were killed or seriously injured in the past five years - double the number of ten-year-olds.

This is the age most children begin to travel on their own to and from school for the first time.