Life in Likes
The children’s Commissioner for England has published a report, Life in Likes, which looks at the ways 8 – 12 year olds use social media platforms which are not designed for younger children and how this effects their wellbeing.
The report found that social media was important for maintaining relationships but a shift in use and impact occurs when children start secondary school. Aged 8-10, children used social media apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Musical.ly and WhatsApp to play games and have fun.
However, when pupils start secondary school and their social circles grow, social media use becomes harder to manage as friendships break down and children become dependent on ‘likes’ and comments for social validation. Focus is then dominated by a need to keep up appearances online.
The report also found that while children understood how stay safe online with regards to predators and strangers they had limited understanding of how technology can effect mood and emotions and how to manage this.
Recommendations from the report included a broadening of digital literacy education in schools beyond safety messages, development of children’s critical awareness and resilience, and a focus on the transition stage from primary to secondary school; and guidance to inform parents about the ways in which children’s social media use changes with age, particularly on entry to secondary school.
Stop, Speak, Support
The Duke of Cambridge has launched a campaign to tackle online bullying with a youth led code of conduct for the internet. Stop, Speak, Support aims to support young people to identify cyberbullying. The Code encourages people to STOP SPEAK SUPPORT.
- Take time out before getting involved, and don’t share or like negative comments
- Try and get an overview of what’s really going on
- Check the community guidelines for the site you’re on
- Ask an adult or friend that you can trust for advice
- Use the report button for the social media it’s happening on
- Speak to one of the charities set up to help with situations like this, such as Childline
- Give the person being bullied a supportive message to let them know they’re not alone
- Encourage the person being bullied to talk to someone they can trust
- Give the person being bullied a positive distraction from the situation