Social media education for kids | Factor 3 Blog

Social media education for kids

A friend of mine recently commented that she’s not looking forward to her daughters becoming teenagers and fully embracing the big, bad world of social media. My friend is not (currently) active on any social media networks. It’s not a world she’s familiar with and combined with what she’s read in the newspapers, she feels slightly apprehensive about the whole ‘social media thing’. She knows, however, that burying her head in the sand is not the right solution.

A talk by consultant clinical psychologist Tanya Byron at TEDx Cheltenham last October highlights the issues faced and offers some good advice.

At Factor3 we’re huge advocates of all things digital. We particularly like the three ‘C’s’ highlighted in Tanya’s talk and would like to add another into the mix for social media education for kids.

These are things we think everyone should consider when they’re online – especially parents and children:

  • Content – with the huge amount of information available online, think about and evaluate the content you’re looking at: Where does it come from? – Is it brand-generated, consumer opinion or third party content? How reliable is the source? And is it suitable for your age group?
  • Contact – who’s getting in touch with you – we tell our children not to talk to strangers offline…doesn’t the same apply online? What should you do if you’re worried about something that’s going on online – who should you contact?
  • Interesting as part of the BBC’s Safer Internet Day Campaignteenagers were asked, amongst other things, about who they would talk to if something dangerous happened online…the majority of them said they would go to their friends first before involving parents because they felt their friends were more likely to understand and know what to do.
  • Conduct – It’s as important to behave responsibly and with respect online as it is in the offline world. It’s all too easy to type in a nasty message and press send or post…particularly with the anonymity that the online world can offer. The saying goes that if you’re not happy to print it on a t-shirt and walk around town wearing it – don’t post it online… wise words!
  • Consequences – There’s been a lot of debate around whether employers should look at a prospective employee’s social media activity. Whichever side of the debate you’re on, the fact remains that whatever you post online creates an impression of the kind of person you are – and that may not always be favourable – so think twice before you press that post or tweet button. The past can come back to haunt you big time as Paris Brown, Kent’s first Youth Police and Crime Commissioner has recently found out

There’s never been a more exciting time to explore the world-wide web. The 4 C’s above give a really good starting point for setting the younger generation off on their journey to explore what the digital world has to offer.

The 4 C’s give a really good starting point for setting the younger generation off on their journey to explore what the digital world has to offer.

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