You will need
- Pens or pencils
- Scrap paper
Before you begin
- You’ll need to print copies of popular memes with the words removed or covered.
- Brush up on your knowledge and find some examples of appropriate memes that are in line with our values. There’s plenty of information online about what makes a great meme – a quick google will reveal top images, catchy captions, and the most popular memes of the past few years.
- To meet requirement 2 of Stage 3 of the Digital Citizen Badge, ask the group to theme their meme messages around staying safe, what to do if they are made to feel uncomfortable online, and where they can find support. You could use this activity as an introduction to other activities like Is it OK? and It’s just banter.
What’s in a meme?
- Everyone should talk together about what memes are. They should try to think of some examples of memes that are popular at the moment.
- Everyone should split into small groups.
- Each group should think about key messages from a national or international week such as Internet Safety Week (February), International Day of Peace (September), or Anti-bullying Week (November).
- Each group should choose a message and plan how they’ll create a meme to represent it. Their meme should appeal to people their age, and it should be funny and memorable. It also needs to offer information, advice, and support.
- Everyone should choose from the printed-out memes with the words removed. They should add their own messages using marker pens, or by cutting and sticking.
- Each group should share their meme with a different group. Everyone should make sure the memes have a positive message, are short, snappy, fun, and memorable, and appeal to people their age.
- After the leader has checked the memes are appropriate, the person in charge of the group’s social media or website could share the best memes online.
This activity was all about communicating – in a slightly different way. Memes are a popular way to spread jokes but in this activity, people used them to share a message about positive digital wellbeing. Was it easy to think of a witty or memorable message? It may have been challenging to balance humour with getting the point across. Why are memes good at getting messages across? They’re quick, use popular images and ideas, and are easy to share on social media. Everyone should reflect on how they went about the task and made decisions. What tips would they give to other groups if they did the activity again?
- 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, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.
As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.
- Glue and solvents
Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions which could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.
Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.
- Phones and cameras
Make sure parents and carers are aware and have given consent for photography.