Students at Samuel Whitbread Academy in Clifton learn about internet safety and child sexual exploitation with hard-hitting play Chelsea’s Choice

PUBLISHED: 10:02 20 November 2016

The cast of Chelsea's Choice helping to promote the new-look Bedfordshire Against Child Sexual Exploitation website. Left to right: George Rhys Thomas (Gary), Oriana Charles (Chelsea), Jason Clare (Shane) and Charmaine White (Lauren).

The cast of Chelsea's Choice helping to promote the new-look Bedfordshire Against Child Sexual Exploitation website. Left to right: George Rhys Thomas (Gary), Oriana Charles (Chelsea), Jason Clare (Shane) and Charmaine White (Lauren).

Archant

Students at a school in Clifton have been learning about internet safety and child sexual exploitation with the help of a hard-hitting play on the subject.

Chelsea’s Choice, centring around three friends who find a fellow teenager’s diary, was performed for Year 9 pupils at Samuel Whitbread Academy.

Chelsea turns out to have been a 15-year-old girl who, having fallen out with friends and family, meets an older man who at first treats her well – but later reveals his true colours.

Jason Clare, one of the four cast members, told pupils afterwards: “It’s important the relationships you have are healthy.

“We don’t want you to go through what Chelsea went through.

“We hear stories about people who use the internet to prey on people who are down or have low self-esteem. It only takes two minutes to set up a fake profile.

“It’s important to keep yourself safe, so when you get home, check your internet privacy settings.

“And remember – if you are asked to send a naked or explicit photo then that is child pornography.”

Charmaine White and Oriana Charles appear alongside Jason as the other two students, with the fourth actor George Rhys Thomas as a teacher.

The three-week tour of Bedfordshire is part of a county-wide awareness campaign also involving safeguarding children boards, the police, the Beds Clinical Commissioning Group, the NSPCC and others.

Sue Harrison, director of children’s services at Central Beds Council, said: “What matters most of all is the safety of our children and young people. Working together is vital if we are to protect them from harm.

“Chelsea’s Choice is just one way that we are working together to educate young people about the dangers of things like sexting.

“We will be targeting everywhere to help spread the message and try to keep our children safe.”

For more about child sexual exploitation and how to get help, see the campaign website at bedfordshireagainstcse.org.

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