Have your say: Social Media and Young People

Is social media a dangerous risk to young people or a powerful support network? Have your say

Social IconsIn the last few days, there have been a number of stories reported in the press - with conflicting messages about the impact of social media use on the lives of young people.

The latest round of news began with an announcement from the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri. Facebook-owned Instagram is going to test hiding "like" counts as a way to make "a less pressurized environment" on the app. This feature comes as part of efforts at Instagram to combat online bullying which is said to plague younger users of the platform.

Social media firms have been under increased pressure from the government to tackle the risks posed online, and this was supported by an announcement by Candida Reece, of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), who this week tabled a motion at the union’s annual conference committing it to a campaign for the introduction of a statutory duty of care to protect children from online harms and toughen age verification checks. She added that social media firms should face a levy to pay schools for teaching children traumatised online.

However, in a small study of participants aged 11 to 18, it would seem that teenagers do not necessarily perceive potential risks on social media as such. On the matter of online abuse, it was reported that "many children doubted there would be any serious consequences for social media abusers. The report suggested that teenagers might not report online abuse because they often don't see it as a problem"

At the same time, TalkTalk's Teenage Loneliness and Technology Report revealed that half of teenagers believe that social media and the internet makes them feel less lonely. Conversely, just a few days later, results from a study of 12,000 UK adolescents revealed that the use of social media had little effect on the well-being and life satisfaction of teenagers.


Have your say

Have you had experience of social media being a positive or negative influence in your school? Do you agree that it can be a source of support for young people? How do you teach your pupils to avoid the potential risks associated with social media? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions using the comments section below.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on May 09, 2019 10:35

Myth vs Reality - New toolkit from Childnet

Childnet launches new resources to support young people as only 15% of 11-14s say they know where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships.

Children’s charity Childnet launch new resources to address online pornography, healthy relationships and body image online.

Brand new resources have been launched by children’s charity Childnet, as part of its work in the UK Safer Internet Centre. The ‘Myth vs Reality’ toolkit covers the issues of pornography, healthy relationships and body image and is designed to be used with young people aged 11-14.

Whilst 80% of 11-14s surveyed by Childnet said it was important or extremely important for young people to discuss the issues related to online pornography, only 15% said they knew where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships. After taking part in the activities, 77% of those surveyed felt they knew where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships.

Following on from the huge success of the ‘Crossing the Line’ toolkit launched in 2016, which covered the issues of sexting, peer pressure, cyberbullying and self-esteem, this new toolkit includes a range of videos, quick activities and adaptable lesson plans based on the real experiences of young people.

The toolkit was created following focus groups conducted in five schools across the UK, where young people expressed the need for education about the portrayal of gender, bodies and relationships online with a particular need for education about the reality of online pornography.

One boy aged between 11 -13 in a focus group stated that: “the less educated people are about sex and relationships the more they are going to try and look for it.”

With Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) becoming statutory in all schools from September 2020, these resources provide schools with much needed practical, thoughtful and helpful resources to support them in teaching RSE. It also comes as the UK prepares to be the first country in the world to implement an age-verification system for online pornography.

The toolkit has been tested in seven schools across the UK where both teachers and pupils tried out the resources and provided feedback about the impact it had had in their school.

Research was conducted with young people aged 11-14 before they completed the toolkit, providing over 600 responses:

  • 80% said it was important or extremely important for young people to discuss the issues related to online pornography, but only 15% said they knew where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships
  • Only 23 % said that they could recognise the difference between what is considered the ‘ideal’ body image online and the reality of a realistic and healthy body
  • Only 23% said that they knew what makes a healthy relationship online
  • After taking part in the activities in the toolkit, young people aged 11-14 reported on the impact that it had, with over 450 responses. Schools saw an increase in confidence and knowledge of the issues in the toolkit:

  • 90% said they now felt confident in supporting themselves and others with the issues related to online pornography
  • 77% said they know where to go to find reliable information about sex and relationships
  • 69% said the lessons made them feel more confident in supporting my friends online when it came to issues around body image
  • 59% felt confident in supporting themselves and others with unhealthy relationships online
  • Will Gardner OBE, CEO of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:
    “The issues that affect young people online are changing and are complex. It is vital that all young people are given the opportunity to discuss the pressures they face online, and develop the skills to spot and understand the gap between perception and reality.

    We have created this toolkit to support and empower educators in exploring these challenging and often interrelating topics with confidence, and to allow them to help their pupils develop the strategies they need to navigate the online world. It’s clear from those schools who have taken part that these resources are much needed and can have a real impact on the lives of young people.”

    One secondary school teacher from Gravesend said:
    “The pupils loved the lessons and one year 9 class asked me when the next lesson was. When I said it was a one-off they said 'we need more lessons like this'. (…) Thank you so much for asking us to be part of the trial - I also learnt a lot."

    A year 9 pupil commenting on the healthy relationships activities said that: "This lesson helps people who are silently struggling. I learnt about how communication, respect, trust and boundaries are key."

    Another young person said, “I learnt what [pornography is] about and where I could go if I needed to talk about it or needed help and that you don't need to look a certain way for other people."

    For more information on how the toolkit can be used in education settings read this piece on ‘How teachers can use the ‘Myth vs Reality’ toolkit’

    Written by Childnet International on May 02, 2019 12:25

    GDPR: One Year On - FREE Refresher Training

    Free Data Protection (GDPR) refresher training for Safeguarding Essentials members Click here to find out more and register


    GDPRThis time last year, there was one word (or should I say acronym) that was never far from the conversation - GDPR!

    We all had the date firmly embedded in our minds and we all received training on how the 25th May changes would affect us.

    The DfE issued a Data Protection for Schools Toolkit, highlighting guidance in the form of nine steps schools could take to efficiently develop the culture, processes and documentation required to be compliant with the strengthened legislation to effectively manage the risks associated with data management. This nine-step guide is still available in the form of a 103-page document.

    So, one year on, is GDPR done and dusted?

    The definite answer to that is no. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law came into force during 2018 along with the updated Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018). But what is the difference between GDPR and Data Protection?

    GDPR is the new European law that is the change of a generation. It defines the data subject as the ultimate owner of their personal data, with specific rights, and any organisation, public or private, which processes personal data must have a legal basis to do so.

    In addition to this, each country was required to create a local law to ratify the exemptions allowed for their industries and culture. In the UK, this is covered by the Data Protection Act 2018.

    Many schools just use the term "data protection" as this is a common title to both laws.

    During the early part of 2018, schools took the opportunity to train staff on the changes that were then about to take place. However, 12 months on, many staff members are now due to have that training refreshed.

    TrainingSchoolz, a sister company of Safeguarding Essentials, is helping schools manage their refresher training by offering free Data Protection/GDPR online training to all Safeguarding Free, Safeguarding Essentials and E-safety Support members for a limited time. Offer ends Easter!

    Schools can register to take the GDPR training and invite up to 300 of their peers to take the course for free as well have access to the simple-to-use yet powerful platform developed specifically for the education sector. Click here to find out more and register or call 0113 360 7838 for further information.


    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on April 04, 2019 10:45


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