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England: call for schools to help children manage social media

05 February 2018

Schools should play a larger role in preparing children for social media’s emotional demands as they move into secondary school, England’s children’s commissioner says.

Anne Longfield said she was worried many pupils became anxious about their identity and craved ‘likes’ and comments for validation.

She made the remarks following a study by the office of the children’s commissioner, Life in ‘likes’, examining social media use among children aged eight to 12.

Although most social media platforms have a minimum age limit of 13, the report said three-quarters of children aged 10 to 12 already had accounts.

The report also describes the ‘cliff edge’ children face as they move from primary to secondary school, when more of their peers have their own phones, and social media becomes more important in their lives.

Longfield suggested compulsory digital literacy and online resilience lessons for Year 6 and Year 7 pupils to educate them about the ‘emotional side of social media’.

Parents should also prepare their children by helping them ‘navigate the emotional rollercoaster’ of the negative aspects of social media.

Read the children’s commissioner’s report at bit.ly/ENG_social_media

Picture credit | iStock

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