Thousands of Oxfordshire children learn about online safety

More than 3,000 children in Oxfordshire are learning valuable lessons from the performance of a special play highlighting what does and doesn’t constitute a healthy online relationships with people.

Pupils aged between 9 and 11 across 60 primary schools are viewing the performance thoughtout June and into early July. The 40-minute play is being staged in Oxfordshire and elsewhere in the Thames Valley thanks to a £51,000 grant provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld.

What knowledge will children take away?

The Oxfordshire performances are part of the county council’s Anti-bullying strategy and pupils are going away from the play with a better understanding of what constitutes a healthy relationship, pressure to conform with peer groups online and the risks when sharing inappropriate images online including sexual exploitation, cyber-bullying and other online abusive behaviour. 

Youngsters are also going away with a better understanding of the impact of online abusive behaviour with a view to developing empathy, coercion and control within online relationships and strategies for managing this and where to go for information and support.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator Jo Brown said: “Delivering important knowledge and information to young people via a play is known to be a high quality way of getting messages across.

Children watching the play at Rush Common Primary School in Abingdon

“We’re grateful for the grant funding that has allowed this play to be staged in Oxfordshire. It’ll be impossible to ever quanitify precisely the return on the investment but if it builds up the resilience of young people to those who may do them harm, it’ll have been worth it."



Crucial area of work

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Matthew Barber said: “I am delighted that we were able to support this project which I believe is an important step in helping young people across the Thames Valley understand what is a healthy relationship and the risks that they may face online. This is an crucial area of work and I am pleased that we have been able to put in place this educational play across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.”

More advice

More information and advice can be found on the county council's websiite here and the OXME website for young people in Oxfordshire here

Pictured are children from St Swithuns School in Kennington (above) and Rush Common Primary School in Abingdon (below) watching the performance by AlterEgo drama company.