Principal’s blog, Friday 18th January 2019, Social Media – Part 3

This week’s blog is brought to you Mr Whitney (Assistant Principal) and is the 3rd instalment on the important and topical areas of social media.

Social Media – Part 3

Firstly, Happy New Year!

With the fact that a number of students may well have got new electronic devices over the break, I thought it would be timely to blog once again about social media and young people.  Even more so with the recent release of guidance about screen time for young people.

Many thought that the research was not strong enough in its conclusions or advice.  Yet if we think about the nature of the review it shouldn’t be a surprise.  Rather than being a fresh study, it instead collated together all of the existing research about screen time and its impact on young people’s health and well-being.  With the proliferation of social media taking place in such a relatively short time, there is currently very little research out there about the specific impact of it; existing research tends to be about the more generic screens such as television and computers.  The one guidance offered about limiting exposure before bedtime echoes that which I have mentioned in a previous blog.

Although as yet there is no evidence of a causal link, I find the following graph, taken from the BBC’s website to be very much worth contemplating.

Science, quite rightly and importantly, makes conclusions based on evidence; you will see the evidence of how your child responds to social media as they use it.  There is no need to wait for a scientific review to take the right steps for you and your family when it comes to social media.  If you can take these steps before your child signs up to anything it will make it easier to respond to the rapidly developing and changing world of social media.

You may also find the following website useful www.net-aware.org.uk. It gives indicators for the most popular games and applications in terms of their risks of sexual content, violence and hatred, bullying, suicide and self-harm as well as drink, drugs and crime.  This will be really useful for those informed conversations with your child; these risk factors have been based on people who are already using them.

I will end by wishing you have a great 2019 and repeating my suggestions from my last blog:

  • 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