How to Stay Social Media Streetwise by @DigitalSisters

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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This is a blog about how to keep students streetwise when using social media …

How often have you wondered about the world-wide web and the dangers it can unleash for our children in schools? You may have lost count as to the number of times you have seen unlocked Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, with teenagers posting selfies, profanities and opinions about school, friends and loved ones that they later come to regret.

Advising students on how to avoid the pitfalls associated with cyber-bullying, sexting and security isn’t easy when teachers and parents are too busy to get to grips with the rapidly evolving world of social media.

Did You Know?

  • 65% of children aged 12 to 15 own a smart phone.
  • 1 in 4 children receive unwanted images on the subject of sex.
  • 21% of reports to CEOP in 2012 were about the sharing of self-created indecent images.
  • 26% of 12-15 year-olds know someone who’s been bullied online.
  • 87% of children go online at home.
  • 57% of children worry about coming across pornographic, violent or other unsuitable content.
  • 43% of teenagers have posted information online they later regretted.
  • 51% of teenagers have revealed information online that could be used to identify them. (Source)

Streetwise Master-class:

So to help you get started, here are some simple tips from social media safety organisation Digital Awareness UK, to help teachers and parents stay streetwise and keep up to speed with it all.

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Image: Shutterstock

  1. Read All About It!

The social media news site Mashable is hands down, our favourite website: it’s entertaining, it’s current and it’s an easy read. But other news sites like The Guardian, Huffington Post and The Telegraph also have dedicated social media news pages outlining the latest and greatest developments in the wonderful world of social media

  1. Chat to the Students:

There is nothing better when it comes to understanding how young people are using social media, and what issues they’re experiencing as a result of that use, than speaking to them directly. Anything from a quick straw poll, to an in-depth discussion or debate in the classroom will give you invaluable insights. This will inform you about how young people are living their lives online.

  1. Be Hands-On:

As soon as we hear from the students we work, about a social network activity we are unsure about, we download it and have a play. This is the best way to understand how they work and what the associated risks could be. Don’t forget to give yourself a code name like ‘Sparky942’ if you don’t want to be found on the network! And if you don’t want to get hands-on, there are plenty of good demo tutorials for each of the networks on YouTube.

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Image: Shutterstock

  1. Be Resourceful:

Websites like Internet Matters, Think U Know and ChildNet offer fantastic resources for teachers, parents and children around how to be safe and responsible online. Sites like Internet Matters also give statistics on the current state of play.

  1. Get Trained Up:

It’s not easy trying to eke out all this information yourself; sometimes it’s worth turning to the experts and reaching out to them to help you navigate your way through social media safety. Most schools offer regular e-safety CPD training for their staff, and if your school doesn’t, get onto them to support you on this! The ever-evolving digital landscape isn’t going anywhere and teachers need regular updates and training to understand how social media is effecting the health and wellbeing of your pupils. It’s crucial …

Digital Awareness UK use leading developers, YouTube stars, hackers and social media specialists to inspire students to enjoy using social media safely. If you’d like to work with @DigitalSisters to help bolster your existing e-safety efforts, get in touch with Emma and Charlotte at or tweet @DigitalSisters

@DigitalSisters Digital Awareness eSafety

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