You will need
- Scrap paper
- Pens or pencils
Before you begin
- Make sure you have enough character profiles. You’ll need one for every three or four people. It’s OK if you need more than one copy of the same profile and more than one group has the same character.
Be a digital detective
- The person leading the activity should remind everyone that they leave a digital footprint made up of everything they do, and every interaction they have, online.
- Everyone should split into groups of three or four people. The person leading the activity should give each group one character profile, some scrap paper, and some pens or pencils.
- Each group should read through their character’s profile together. They should chat about what the person is like, and start to create a character from the information they have.
- Each group should take it in turns to present their character to the group as though they’re introducing a new friend. They should add as much detail as they can, but they shouldn’t make things up – it should all be based on the evidence from their social media profiles.
Give friendly advice
- Once everyone’s presented their profiles, they should think about what their character could do to keep themselves safe, maintain privacy, or make more positive decisions.
- Everyone should take it in turns to share their ideas with each other. Why should the characters think about following everyone’s advice?
- The person leading the game should remind everyone that they should tell a trusted adult if they feel uncomfortable about anything online.
This activity was all about understanding communication. How much could everyone work out about the characters from just a few social media posts? A handful of posts only show a small snapshot of what someone’s like, so it’s important not to make lots of assumptions. Do people find it tempting to make assumptions about people based on their social media (for example, if someone acts as through they’re very popular and outgoing, is it easy to assume they’re like that in real life? Is that always true?)?
This activity was also about being a citizen. How may the content the characters posted on social media have affected others? For example, Taylor’s video may have upset the person in it, Arun’s post may offend Miss Take, or Kate’s post may have made her brother feel sad. It’s important to remember that lots of people may look at someone’s social media – it’s not just their friends, it could be family members (including parents), potential friends, or even potential employers. What messages do the characters’ social media interactions give to these people? Fast forward 10 years. How may the characters feel about these interactions now? What advice would everyone’s future selves give their current selves about social media?
- Online safety
Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.
For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, the Net Aware website has information and safety tips for apps.
As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.