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Launch of play to educate children about healthy online relationships

More than 3,000 children in Oxfordshire will learn from the performance of a special play highlighting what does and doesn’t constitute a healthy online relationship with people.

Pupils aged between 9 and 11 across 60 primary schools will view the performance between Friday, June 8 and Friday, July 6. 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

The Oxfordshire performances are part of the county council’s Anti-bullying strategy and pupils will go away from the play with a better understanding of:

  • What constitutes a healthy relationship
  • Pressure to conform with peer group online
  • Risks when sharing inappropriate images online, including online sexual exploitation, cyber-bullying and other online abusive behaviour.
  • The impact of online abusive behaviour with a view to developing empathy.
  • Coercion and control within online relationships and strategies for managing this.
  • 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.

“We’re grateful for the grant funding that has allowed this play to be staged in Oxfordshire. It’ll be impossible to ever quantify 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 every penny.” 

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 a 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.”

Councillor Hilary Hibbert Biles, said: “It’s not the first time we’ve used drama to get important safety information through to young people and it has become an accepted and mainstream way of educating throughout the country.

“It’s an obvious thing to say that children spend more time online than previous generations – but that does bring additional risks, and we need additional safeguards to combat them.”



Editors notes

Following performances across Oxfordshire the play will tour Buckinghamshire in September to October and then Berkshire, October to November.