Yesterday the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield published her report into social media use by 8-12 year olds, ‘Life in Likes’. Firstly I would recommend reading it, (see link at bottom). Here is also a summary and then some ideas to bring a digital literacy into the classroom.
Children are now spending so much time online and growing up surrounded by it, certainly by secondary school age they are conscious of how they put themselves across on it. Children ages 10-12yrs have social media accounts, though most platforms have an age limit of 13yrs. They are being affected by it every day.; are they cool enough, pretty enough or wearing the ‘right’ clothes?
Family matters. Many children felt uncomfortable about their parents posting pictures of them of social media, but felt they couldn’t stop it. Children also worry about their siblings use of social media online. They use it multiple times a day.
Children kept in touch with friends online, but also fell out online too; could be stressful and distract from outside activities. They maintained relationships online, but also friendships could be damaged.
Identity and approval were all issues they faced. Trying to be like celebrities was also important to some. They felt good when they had likes and comments. They also started to see off-line activities through a ‘lens’ of shareable material.
Social media was also found to inspire them and lead to aspirations and they could learn about the world discovering and exploring online. Social media made them laugh and cheered them up when watching funny posts and videos.
Digital literacy is a must on the curriculum, not only to look at safety, but also awareness and resilience, understanding online platforms and how they work, and how children’s wellbeing is impacted.
Using Twisted Tales of the Internet book to teach digital literacy
Stories and poems can embed learning quickly and discussions with peers about what has been read are recommended for schools in peer-peer learning.
The Trolls story involves themes of; trust, resentment, cyber-bullying, dealing with bullies, online fraud, safety, vlogging, blogging, YouTube-ing, making a career online, trolling and self-image.
King Click is a moral tale of online shopping.
Selfie Central can help review how much selfies are about image, or filtered, or about fitting in.
‘Snap your best friend’s brunch!’ ‘Snap a pic of a marrow in the local shopping isles!’
Beware the Dreaded Internet has a mix of funny, yet cautionary rhymes, to help get the message of who’s behind the screen.
‘Who’s behind the screen; could be good, could be bad?
Could be ready waiting when you’ve had a barney with your mum and dad!’
My Body Belongs to Me is a serious poem of body image and keeping photos private.
Cyber Space used to talk about being open to the world.
This is the Screen about everything being on a screen, but what’s behind it and is it always the truth? Getting cyber savvy with ideas.
The Fake News Blues a rap about fake news, and how to spot the lie.
Other poems to be continued…
I will update with specific uses of each poem and themes and add more. In the meantime check out the full report and the Twisted Tales book by following the links.