Mirror Mirror

Vidya RameshA short film based on a prize-winning script written by Withington Fifth Former Vidya Ramesh is being used to raise awareness about e-safety and the pitfalls of the online world amongst thousands of schoolchildren city-wide.

The cautionary tale, based on an adaptation of the fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was written by Vidya as an entry in an e-safety competition run by the North West Safeguarding Children Board.

Vidya won the Secondary School Prize – a brand new iPad.

Now the Manchester Safeguarding Children Board (MSCB) have taken Vidya's original script and, working with pupils from Newall Green High School, produced a film of the cybertale about the importance of using internet social networking and online technologies safely.

It was used as a resource available to all Manchester schools as a contribution to Internet Safety Day, a Europe-wide initiative, on 7th February.

Vidya, who was encouraged to enter the competition by Withington's Head of ICT Mr Andrew Snowden, said: "The idea was to create a resource to promote e-safety amongst children and I thought the best way of engaging them was through a well-loved fairy tale."

Her 21st Century take on the story was to substitute a computer screen for the Wicked Queen's "magic" mirror.

"It was my first time writing a script, so I had a look at scripts in the School's Drama Department and tried to write something around that. It was challenging but I loved doing it," said Vidya, a Withington pupil since joining the Junior School aged seven.

"I really like history and English," she added, "but I also think technology is the future and everyone in my generation is going to have to learn to get on board."

Ian Rush, Independent Chair of MSCB, said: "These days, young people are generally more Internet savvy than many or even most adults; that's why the MSCB thought that stories created by young people for their peers about the risks of the Internet are much more likely to be taken seriously.

"We think that Vidya's story is a fantastic example of this and we want to encourage all young people to make sure that their friends understand how to use the Internet and social networking websites safely".

Withington also marked Safer Internet Day by holding a special assembly and inviting a speaker from Childnet International to run a series of sessions for pupils and a very informative information session for parents.