A NEW PCC-funded safety video by a grassroots Cleveland charity Rubies has featured on television.
The new video – Ruby’s Story – urges girls to stay safe online and say no to unsolicited, offensive content.
A report on the video featured on BBC Look North’s main bulletin at 6.30pm last night.
Rubies, which works with young women across Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland, has made the hard-hitting video with the help of funding from Cleveland’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC.)
Staff decided to make the video when they couldn’t find appropriate resources to promote online safety in their work with nine to 12-year-olds.
Using £5,000 from Cleveland OPCC, Rubies worked with locally-based film company Wander Films to produce Ruby’s Story.
Three of the girls from Rubies’ GLOW groups volunteered to feature in the film as extras, alongside a young, local actress.
The charity deliberately chose to film in key locations across Middlesbrough to give the video an authentic, local feel.
The video’s authenticity shows girls, with whom Rubies works, that online exploitation is a real issue in their own communities.
Rubies’ research shows that 88 per cent of girls see unsolicited pictures and videos online, which they’d rather not view.
The video’s message is that just because unwanted – and sometimes offensive – content has become normal, it doesn’t mean women and girls have to put up with it.
Liz Edwards, Rubies Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Since the pandemic, we have increasingly found that girls – and boys – are already very clued up of the risks of posting on various platforms and interacting with strangers online.
“Schools also do a great job in providing information and raising awareness about these risks.
“However, this does not stop the girls we work with continuing to have open profiles as the perceived benefits of Tik Tok fame and affirmations through ‘likes’ consistently outweigh the negative interactions, which may come with them.
“Unsolicited messages, comments and pictures from males have become normalised and now seem to be an accepted part of the online world, which children and young people navigate every day.
“This film has helped us to begin addressing this disconnect between what girls tolerate in the online world and what would cause them to think twice in real life.
“Some girls have changed their settings to private after watching this film, which is a great first step.
“Others have been able to recognise that the risks are more serious than they previously believed.”
Watch Ruby’s Story at: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/rwSi_w03F4c