I’ve been giving an assembly to every House in our school this week, with a focus on Safety & Privacy in Facebook. It’s gone down incredibly well with staff and more importantly students, so I figured it worth sharing. I’ve hit on some top tips to get pupils to listen on a subject that it’s oh so easy to patronise upon.
Let them use it
This began with a lesson with my Year 8 ICT class. We talked around how the pupils assessed a friend before they accepted a request, and about how they decided what to share and with who. We looked at how you changed your privacy settings. And then I let them onto Facebook. Being the man in charge of the filter helps here, instant engagement and proper discussions with pupils about their friends followed as we could actually explore there Facebook.
A disturbing discovery
Whilst discussing whether some of the boys actually knew their hundreds of friends we came across this young lady.
She’d added pretty much every pupil in our school and hundreds of them had added her back. All with an account that only opened in July, and with a sob story about being a former pupils from 2009 who didn’t attend much due to family problems. I’d never heard of her though. And some digging showed she had never attended our school. Disturbing, but a great discussion point about how to block and report someone, and gold dust for an assembly. 4 out of 5 assemblies in and nobody has actually met this ‘young lady’.
Invade their ‘privacy’
I spent my Friday evening snooping in our pupil’s Facebook profiles. Many were left wide open and many had hundreds if not thousands of friends. I wanted to point out not just the dangers of people not being who they claimed to be, but also the idea of a digital footprint. 30 minutes going through your pupil’s profiles is more than enough to find some examples of them publicly embarrassing themselves in some way. I settled on some family photos of a popular pupil and another trying to be-friend a well know local gang.
Expose their ‘privacy’
The edited version of my assembly presentation is below. The dodgy profile that many of them were friends with was a great talking point, and shocked them into just how much a teacher can nosey at in their spare time has been a real eye-opener. I’ve had pupils coming up to me in the corridor all week telling me they didn’t realise what I could see. One accused me of invading their privacy, I simply replied that was entirely my point!
Make them think about their futures
After showing how easy it is to spy on them, they were hooked for the important messages about managing your digital footprint and the idea of potential employers, colleges & universities Googling them one day soon.
Share something back
I finished with an image of my own Facebook profile, with the new timeline enabled, and a discussion of Facebook’s desire to get them to share more and more in the future.
Top tip is to get stuck in there, generic warnings and shock stated videos like those from CEOP just don’t seem to have an impact. Exposing privacy issues of young people in front of their peers does.