Although primary schools are teaching about online safety effectively, the children’s commissioner for England said pupils are not being adequately prepared for the emotional challenges that social media presents as they move to senior school, wrote The Guardian.
While eight to 10-year-olds tend to use social media in a creative way, often playing games with one another, this changes when they enter secondary school with the use of platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, where children begin to chase ‘likes’ and positive comments on their posts.
The report shows that many children in year seven — the first year of secondary school when almost everyone in the class will have a phone and be active on social media — feel under pressure to be constantly connected, often at the expense of other activities.
They worry about their online image, particularly when they start to follow celebrities on Instagram and other platforms. They are also concerned about ‘sharenting’ — when parents post pictures of them on social media without their permission — and worry that their parents won’t listen if they ask them to take pictures down.
Commissioner, Anne Longfield, is calling on parents and teachers to do more to prepare children for the emotional impact of social media as they get older. She wants to see the introduction of compulsory digital literacy and online resilience lessons for pupils in year six and seven.