To nurture the skills of resilience is key to providing young people with the ability to cope with stress, adversity, failure and challenges. Resilience is evident when young people have a greater ability to “bounce back” when faced with difficulties and achieve positive outcomes.
Resilience empowers the individual to recognise the positives and negatives of social media and be aware of unhealthy messages and how it can affect an individual and their family/friends. Resilience enables an individual to use social media correctly and to challenge or provide support to others who don’t
Social networking is hugely popular. Many young people are sophisticated in the way they use social media apps and websites, tailoring their communication for different audiences, and accessing them from a range of devices including smartphones, tablets, and games consoles.
But social media, like all forms of public communication, comes with some risks. By helping the individual to understand what the risks are, schools/parents/carers can play a big part in preventing them from turning into problems.
Students need to be equipped with the knowledge needed to make the best use of the internet and technology in a safe, considered and respectful way, so they are able to reap the benefits of the online world.
How to evaluate what they see online – This will enable pupils to make judgements about what they see online and not automatically assume that what they see is true, valid or acceptable.
Schools can help pupils consider questions including:
- is this website/URL/email fake? How can I tell?
- what does this cookie do and what information am I sharing?
- is this person who they say they are?
- why does someone want me to see this?
- why does someone want me to send this?
- why would someone want me to believe this?
- why does this person want my personal information?
- what’s behind this post?
- is this too good to be true?
- is this fact or opinion?
How to recognise techniques used for persuasion – This will enable pupils to recognise the techniques that are often used to persuade or manipulate others. Understanding that a strong grasp of knowledge across many areas makes people less vulnerable to these techniques and better equipped to recognise and respond appropriately to strongly biased intent or malicious activity.
Schools can help pupils to recognise:
- online content which tries to make people believe something false is true and/or mislead (misinformation and disinformation),
- techniques that companies use to persuade people to buy something,
- ways in which games and social media companies try to keep users online longer (persuasive/sticky design); and
- criminal activities such as grooming.
Online behaviour – This will enable pupils to understand what acceptable and unacceptable online behaviour look like. Schools should teach pupils that the same standard of behaviour and honesty apply on and offline, including the importance of respect for others. Schools should also teach pupils to recognise unacceptable behaviour in others.
Schools can help pupils to recognise acceptable and unacceptable behaviour by:
- looking at why people behave differently online, for example how anonymity (you do not know me) and invisibility (you cannot see me) affect what people do,
- looking at how online emotions can be intensified resulting in mob mentality
- teaching techniques (relevant on and offline) to defuse or calm arguments, for example a disagreement with friends, and disengage from unwanted contact or content online;
- considering unacceptable online behaviours often passed off as so-called social norms or just banter. For example, negative language that can be used, and in some cases is often expected, as part of online gaming and the acceptance of misogynistic, homophobic and racist language that would never be tolerated offline.
How to identify online risks – This will enable pupils to identify possible online risks and make informed decisions about how to act. This should not be about providing a list of what not to do online. The focus should be to help pupils assess a situation, think through the consequences of acting in different ways and decide on the best course of action.
Schools can help pupils to identify and manage risk by:
- discussing the ways in which someone may put themselves at risk online
- discussing risks posed by another person’s online behaviour
- discussing when risk taking can be positive and negative
- discussing “online reputation” and the positive and negative aspects of an online digital footprint. This could include longer-term considerations, i.e. how past online behaviours could impact on their future, when applying for a place at university or a job for example,
- discussing the risks versus the benefits of sharing information online and how to make a judgement about when and how to share and who to share with
- asking questions such as what might happen if I post something online? Who will see it? Who might they send it to?
How and when to seek support – This will enable pupils to understand safe ways in which to seek support if they are concerned or upset by something they have seen online.
Schools can help pupils by:
- helping them to identify who trusted adults are
- looking at the different ways to access support from the school, police, the National Crime Agency’s Click CEOP reporting service for children
- helping them to understand that various platforms and apps will have ways in which inappropriate contact or content can be reported.
Source – DfE
Source – Rise Above
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