Students raise awareness of online safety
TALENTED drama students at Rushden Academy have written, choreographed, produced and starred in two thought-provoking plays, designed to both entertain and teach younger students about online safety.
The Year 12 and 13 BTEC students, appearing as the Inspire Theatre Company, have performed the two short plays, Send and Update, in Education Fellowship primary and secondary schools across Northamptonshire and further performances are scheduled. Professional videos of the performances have also been produced.
Their safety message is echoed by Northamptonshire Police, who last week issued a warning to local people not to fall victim to ‘webcam blackmail’. The crime typically involves people being lured into revealing themselves in front of their webcams – they are subsequently filmed and told the video will be posted online unless a fee is paid.
Police say there has been a dramatic rise in reported incidents of this over the past few months and, as blackmailers are often based abroad, locating and prosecuting offenders is proving difficult. A statement said: “Take simple steps to prevent falling victim to online blackmailers: Never get lured into removing your clothes or performing sexual acts in front of your webcam; always remember that what goes online may stay online; know who you are inviting or accepting invitations from on social media; do not accept friend requests from total strangers; ensure your privacy settings on your social networking accounts are set to only allow friends to view your account.
“If you do become a victim, report the crime immediately, however embarrassing it may seem.
“For further details, call the Cyber Crime Unit at Northamptonshire Police on: 101.”
Jordan Ede, head of Performing Arts at Rushden Academy, said: “The students and I are very proud of the work that has been created and the fantastic response we have had from the schools we have visited. The cast was determined to create something that would both entertain and educate audiences and has definitely achieved this.”
Dr Albin Wallace, director IT and School Development for the Education Fellowship, said: “The messages about online safety are crucial to the safety and wellbeing of our students and the students’ plays have been incredibly valuable in raising awareness and driving home the message to them, as well as to their teachers.”
Pictured above – SENDING THE MESSAGE: Year 12 and 13 BTEC drama students’ plays promote online safety.