Bradford Grammar School (BGS) is tackling social media concerns head on, amid growing fears about the way children use social media and its effects on their well-being.
The Children’s Commissioner’s recent report ‘Life in Likes’ revealed that many children are finding social media hard to manage, and becoming over-dependent on ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ for social validation. BGS has been instrumental in providing public talks, focusing on important issues for pupils, parents and staff. The latest in this influential series is straight-talking New Yorkers Allison Havey and Deana Puccio, Founders of the RAP Project.
Their aim? To raise awareness and prevention for negative effects of social media, while openly discussing how social media influences attitudes and expectations from personal safety to sexual assault.
Pupil Lottie Kingsley, Year 10 pupil from Bingley, thought the session was fantastic, “it was really good, and they involved all the pupils really well. It was quite surprising just how real some of these stories are and it really brought it home to me.” Another pupil, Kate Mighell, 14 from Farsley, could not agree more “you don’t realise how serious situations can get but it’s great to have that straight forward advice and support on how to handle yourself and support others with anything concerning online. Allison and Deana were so engaging – I was quite captivated by them.”
Deana comments, “All these children are dealing with the same issues no matter where they live and what school they go to. Yet, because of social media and 24/7 access they’re all exposed to the same challenges – this is true of Bradford as it is anywhere else.” Allison agrees: “The main problem is that teenagers inhabit a world that we don’t know much about, so we feel we have little to offer and our generation is always playing catch-up. I think it’s fabulous that BGS is one step ahead of the game, bridging the gap for parent, pupils and staff alike, and leading the way in developing an appropriate response to the growing epidemic of social media uncertainties amongst young people and adults throughout the country.”
Deana was particularly impressed by the pupils “absolutely lovely pupils, attentive, engaged and very bright. I certainly felt like they took away a lot from the session. It’s a real pleasure to know you’re helping them with their choices going forwards when it comes to keeping safe.”
Jane Chapman, Assistant Head Pastoral said: “We are acutely aware that members of the public, young people, parents and teachers all need reassurance and confidence to do more to prepare children for the emotional impact of social media as they get older. At BGS we have always placed a premium on our pastoral care, fostering a broad range of interests outside the classroom to nurture resilient and characterful young people that are able to navigate complex modern life and make the most of opportunities.”
The strategies and advice Allison and Deana offered about how to deal with online safety and prevention and get further advice were instrumental in raising awareness to pupils, staff and parents alike.
Jane continues: “We were delighted to welcome Allison and Deana to BGS and their visit has been a great success. They are both very fascinating speakers and we hope they will come back to BGS in the near future. We want to play our part through these public speakers, to benefit everyone, not just the few, and to help tackle these concerns within our local community, Yorkshire and nationwide.”
“I think it’s fabulous that BGS is one step ahead of the game, bridging the gap for parent, pupils and staff alike, and leading the way in developing an appropriate response to the growing epidemic of social media uncertainties amongst young people and adults throughout the country.”