Young people need guidance to cope with the threats posed by social media

Professionals must be trained to deal with the social problems young people can come up against when using today’s technologyThis week marks the first anniversary of the summer riots, where mobile devices played such an important part in connecting rioters with each other and were used to capture much of the carnage and brutality. Of course, the technology didn’t cause the riots, but as the police found out, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) helped crowds gather at remarkable speed and to circumvent police lines.A year is a long time in terms of technology. New mobile handsets and apps become integrated into our lives at astonishing speed. Over the last 12 months I’ve been working with young people excluded from mainstream schools who are taught instead in pupil referral units (PRUs). The project we’ve been working on is called Munch, Poke, Ping, which I have written about previously in these pages, and has looked at how these young learners are engaging with social media. Through film-making, we’ve been able to explore the paradox that despite being digitally connected young people are largely having to cope alone.

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