​Digital Sidcot – Social Media

Digital Sidcot – Social Media

According to the Mail Online, 52% of 8 to 16 year olds ignored Facebook's age limit. For those that don't know, most social media sites have a minimum age of 13 in their terms and conditions and say children under this age should not be using them. However, as parents, we know that many children under 13 do exist on these pages. Can they be stopped? Probably not. Can they be educated to be safe and open about what they do? Yes! As mentioned last week, our children do know a lot about the internet and how to find their way around, but many do not think about what they are posting or the implications this can have further down the line.

How do children (and sometimes parents) get caught out on social media?

The following list is just an example of the most common ways you can get caught out:

  • Posting a ‘funny’ image of a friend doing something ‘silly’.
  • Posting a comment when in a bad mood about someone for something (and forgetting who is friends with who).
  • Reposting (or tweeting) unsubstantiated claims – some people have been fined over this.
  • Mixing professional and personal social media up – this could be school or work place).
  • Forgetting nothing ever really gets deleted form social media. It is only ever hidden and can come back to haunt you. E.g. when Facebook changed its policy a few years ago, some found that what they thought had been long deleted reappeared on their news feed causing them problems.
  • Companies now regularly search social media before employing someone. So that ‘funny’ photo or poor judge of comment at the top of the list could lose you a job offer, and you may not even know.

How do we guard against this?

  1. Think before you post and lead by example to your children.
  2. Educate, educate, educate! It is an ongoing education about how to use social media.
  3. Don’t post anything you would not hang up in a public place or show your ‘Granny’.
  4. As mentioned in the first post about digital footprints, try and keep your online presence to a minimum.

How do I talk to my children about this?

  • This topic can feel hard to discuss with older children and probably easier with younger ones as they are initially more accepting.
  • Explain to them that what you post on social media now can affect them later in life.
  • Anything that is posted can go viral very quickly. An example of a good viral post, is from Sidcot's own Communications Officer, Nick. He found himself at the centre of a news cycle back in January, all because of a tweet about an egg! Two years ago he tweeted a photo of his Oreo Creme Egg 'invention' to Cadbury to which they responded and showed appreciation to Nick's creation. Two years later the Oreo Creme Egg hits the shelves in the UK and Nick hadn't forgotten about his masterpiece, and so he decided (as a joke) to bring it up with Cadbury again by retweeting the original photo and saying "You're welcome!". Since then, local, national and international news agencies picked up the story and shared it far and wide. Nick featured on Absolute Radio, Heart FM and even TV (you can see the Made In Bristol video below)! However, this could have easily been something different. It could have been a negative tweet about a public figure which got dragged up and had the same effect of going viral – as I said nothing, is ever deleted.
  • Be their friend on social media sites, so you can see what is being posted and have conversations about what is fair and right to be posted, be careful not to pick up on everything you may not like as they go ‘underground’ and then you will not know what is going on.
  • Keep a look out for ‘hidden’ profiles they may have. Some will have parent friendly logins and then a separate one for friends – to avoid this keep talking and educating them about what is right.
  • Keep revisiting the topic often to keep them aware.

As always, if you would like to know more please make contact with the School.

Some useful resources can be found on Think You Know / Internet Matters 

James Russell
IT Development Manager

Independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3 - 18 in Somerset