Internet safety and cyber bullying are being brought into the spotlight for youngsters as an educational theatre show has reached more than 1,300 pupils in the Derbyshire Dales.
The ‘Escape’ play and interactive workshop by the Saltmine Theatre Company has been funded by Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire Dales District Council to help get the message to youngsters at 23 primary schools about how to stay safe online and the dangers of sharing personal information and photos.
It is supported by The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and aims to teach the rules of the internet in a fun and accessible way to children, covering topics including cyber bullying, the dangers of talking to strangers on the internet and taking care of your personal details.
The story is about Sarah Thompson, a girl who lives on the edge of an enchanted forest. On her eleventh birthday she is allowed to enter for the first time on her own but has to follow three rules to keep her safe and away from the dangerous wolves.
Each performance is targeted to eight to 11 year old pupils, is followed up by an educational workshop, where the children are encouraged to discuss the key messages behind the play, and it has already been performed to pupils in other parts of the county.
Parents also receive a cyber safety leaflet which reinforces the key internet safety messages of ‘Escape’ and provides useful information they can share and discuss with their child to encourage them to stay safe online.
The three key cyber-safety rules are:
- Never leave the ‘Forest Path’ or go anywhere with anyone you meet in the ‘Forest’ (i.e. don’t visit unsafe websites)
- Never give out your name, telephone number or address
- If you ever feel worried or scared, call for an adult that you trust.
Inspector Steve Johnson, who is in charge of the Neighbourhood Safeguarding Team for North Division, said:
“The internet and social media is now a big part of our daily lives, and children are embracing new technologies at a much earlier age. This has many benefits but it is also important to ensure youngsters know how to stay safe whilst online.
“These performances in primary schools are designed to help children understand the impact of cyber bullying. We also hope parents will follow up by speaking to their youngsters and offering advice at home.”
Councillor Lewis Rose OBE, Leader of the District Council and Chairman of the Safer Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership said:
“We were delighted to instigate and part fund this important educational project. The performances have been well received by the children and members of staff and hammered home the dangers of sharing personal information and photos online.”
You can find out more about the Saltmine Theatre Company and their ‘Theatre in Education’ programme by visiting the website: www.saltminetrust.org.uk
If you have any concerns about your child please contact The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). CEOP is part of the National Crime Agency and can investigate what is happening with the assurance that the safety and wellbeing of your child is paramount at all times. For more information visit www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre or www.thinkuknow.co.uk.
You can also find out more advice on cybercrime and other safety issues on the Derbyshire police website, www.derbyshire.police.uk/Safety-advice