Principal’s Blog, 4th December 2018, Social media and technology part 2

This week’s Blog is brought to you by Mr Whitney and is the follow up to social media and technology part 1, unsurprisingly it is named, social media and technology part 2.

Social media and technology part 2

You may remember I wrote recently about how we were looking into this area as an academy.  It seemed eerily prescient that after writing that there seemed to be flurry of stories around children, mobile phones and social media.  From people suggesting an implementation of a ban across all state schools, the endorsement of a pledge for parents and students to reduce phone use at home by a leading independent school to the removal of Tumblr from the app store for content issues.

Thank you to all of those parents of students in year 7 and 8 who responded to the recent online questionnaire on this topic. The number of completed surveys was over 200 and has given the academy useful feedback on where we should plan to go next.

It was very reassuring to see that over 90% of families had rules about use of technology and social media, with only 60% of students accessing social media networks.  The majority of age restrictions for social media apps is 13, but well done to the 19% of respondents who correctly stated that the age restriction for WhatsApp is 16.  However it was a concern that almost a third of replies said that a change in behaviour was seen after accessing social media, the most common were being confrontational, angry or defiant.

In terms of moving forward, there was a very clear direction from all those who replied to look closely at our curriculum and how we convey the spectrum of impacts that social media can have to our students.  Alongside this there was a wish for useful information and regular sharing about trends on social media on our website.  I will be looking at these areas over the next few weeks and will be updating you again in the New Year.  Below you will find a few suggestions that come from my research in this area over the last few months; I hope they are of some use.

  • Have rules about technology and social media that everyone in the household follows
  • No mobile phones at dinner (Frankie and Benny’s are apparently giving free children’s meals if you hand them in at the beginning of the evening)
  • No social media within an hour of bedtime-tiredness impairs judgement and when posting online without the ability to read people’s reactions this can cause major issues
  • Make social media social.  Have a room where it is accessed together at the same time, but more importantly discussed between you
  • Monitor the apps that are downloaded and the age restrictions that apply; they are there for a reason
  • Follow the NSPCC’s guidance of working as a TEAM:
    • Talk about staying safe online
    • Explore together
    • Agree rules about what is ok
    • Manage the settings and controls

Like so many things in modern day life, social media if used wisely can have many benefits, if used foolishly it can create many problems.

Mr Whitney