Education news

Children must learn about the dangers of social media

Avril Hall Callaghan of the Ulster Teachers' Union

Schools need expert support to help educate children about the dangers of `sexting' and social media, it has been claimed.

Avril Hall Callaghan, general secretary of the Ulster Teachers' Union, said social media could be used as a tremendous force for good in the classroom and was an invaluable teaching tool.

She warned, however, that young people must realise how crucial it was to stay safe online.

"For that reason it's essential that our teachers have the training and support they need to keep up with their pupils, as it is often the young people who are more au fait with the mechanics of social media - they just don't appreciate its pitfalls," she said.

Ms Hall Callaghan made her comments following the case this month of a teenager in England who sent a naked photo of himself to a girl at school and had it recorded as a crime by police.

"A case like this highlights just how naive our young people can still be when it comes to social media," she said.

Under current arrangements these details could be stored for at least 10 years, disclosed to future employers or flagged up in an advanced CRB check if the boy concerned ever wanted to get a job working with children.

"The boy will have a chance to appeal but the case highlights just how dangerous social media can be in the hands of young people who don't realise the implications," Ms Hall Callaghan added.

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