As part of our technology enhanced learning initiative, on Thursday 16th March, Alex Chalk MP and Facebook addressed an audience of parents, students, teachers, and the wider community in the school hall, to discuss concerns about social media and teenage mental health.
The event was also watched by over 1600 people online, who could comment and raise specific concerns, issues or suggestions for improvement they may have for Facebook, as well as Instagram and Whatsapp (who are also owned by Facebook.)
In summary, there were four main outcomes from the event for Facebook to take away and consider further:
- Is 13 too young to have a Facebook account?
- Should there be a test or process that a new user has to go through before they have access to the full platform to ensure they understand their responsibilities, and the tools for reporting issues of cyberbullying?
- Should the reporting tools be flagged to users from time to time, including greater promotion of the Facebook parents portal? Also, raising greater awareness that reports are anonymous.
- How can Facebook work at a greater speed to remove inappropriate posts and content?
A notable highlight of the event was the recognition that everyone has a responsibility to engage with young people in their use of social media. Not just Facebook, who admit they could do more work in this area, but also parents who can be proactive in fostering positive relationships at home, where there is an expectation that children share their online presence with them. In school we continue to deliver assemblies, and lessons dedicated to the responsibilities with social networking, including reporting abuse of the platforms. We will also be redesigning StudentFrog to make this more prominent, and putting up new foamex boards around the school alerting students to their responsibilities, and how they can report online abuse to us and Facebook. Friends of young people were also encouraged to use the platform to “look out for their friends”, and report issues on their behalf.