Pupils need to be prepared for social media pressures

Pupils need to be prepared for social media pressures

New research commissioned by Anne Longfield shows that schools need to help to prepare pupils for the demands of social media.

The research also concluded that teachers need to have better knowledge of the impact of popular mobile apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, and how they affect the well-being of pupils.

The report looked at the effects of social media on children between the ages of eight and 12.

It showed that as pupils move up to secondary school, there is a shift as pupils begin to use social platform apps opposed to games after entering year 7.

The report is also critical of social media companies, which it claims are still allowing children under 13 to use their platforms, despite pledges to restrict them to older pupils.

Commenting on the research, Paul Whiteman, general secretary at the teacher’s union NAHT, said: “Many primary school age children will have received tech gifts for Christmas, from smart phones to tablets.

“They are a powerful source of information but they need to be handled with care. The benefits and risks of easy internet access for pupils are clear, so it’s important to find the right balance.”

Whiteman added: “It’s vital that schools and parents work together to give young people the tools they need to navigate the internet safely and with confidence. Whilst this is already happening in many schools progress is being held back because Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) has not yet been given statutory status alongside Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).

“Online safety, including the impact which social media can have on emotional and mental health, must be seen as part of a bigger picture in schools for pupils of all ages.”

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