Internet safety and cyber bullying are being brought into the spotlight for youngsters as a theatre show tours primary schools in the Amber Valley and Bolsover.
The show by the Saltmine Theatre Company has been paid for by Derbyshire police and community safety partnerships for the area to help get the message to youngsters about how to stay safe online and the dangers of sharing personal information and photos.
Each performance has been 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.
Parents receive a cyber safety leaflet which gives details about the initiative and provides useful information they can share with their child to encourage them to stay safe online.
Chief Inspector Michelle Shooter, who is the lead for communities in North Division, said: “The internet and social media has become a large part of our daily lives, and children are embracing new technologies at a much earlier age. While this does come with many benefits, it is also increasingly important to ensure they know how to stay safe whilst online.”
“Children can make themselves vulnerable when they go online, and we hope that these performances in primary schools will help youngsters to understand the impact of cyber bullying and the importance of internet safety rules.”
Among the schools taking part in the initiative in the Bolsover was Blackwell Primary School.
Rachel Boswell, Head Teacher at Blackwell Primary School said: “The children really enjoyed the production and it gave a very important message that they then talked about in their classrooms afterwards. The parents were really positive too and we look forward to welcoming Saltmine back again.”
Plans are now also underway for the performance to be shown at schools in Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire.
Rachael Orrell, CEO at the Saltmine Theatre Company, said: “Saltmine Theatre Company was delighted to work in partnership with Amber Valley and Bolsover Police and Community Safety Partnerships to tour Escape into primary schools.
“Over four weeks in September-October, Saltmine visited 18 Amber Valley schools and 10 Bolsover schools, and performed to around 3,200 pupils. Following the success of this tour, further partnerships are being planned in 2017 to tour this show with its important, timely messages to Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire schools.”
Councillor John Ritchie, Bolsover District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “In this modern world where our young people are becoming more savvy with new technology, it is very important that we educate them on the dangers that lie unseen in cyber space. I fully support this project as an appropriate and engaging way of doing that.”
You can find out more about the Saltmine Theatre Company and their ‘Theatre in Education’programme by visiting www.saltminetrust.org.uk.