Be Smart

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The North Lincolnshire Youth Council has led the development of a social media charter at the request of the Chair of the Secondary Headteachers’ Consortium.

Whilst consulting with young people, it became clear that social media was deeply ingrained in their lives. It was recognised that whilst it could be a great tool, it was important to encourage and support young people to be responsible users, to get the best out of it and to keep themselves safe.

A North Lincolnshire Social Media Charter would be a ‘go to’ document that would remind young people of the positives of using social media as well as the consequences of using it.

The ‘Be Smart’ Social Media Charter is the result of months of hard work. Young people have led the development of this document. It is written by young people for young people as well as the adults in their lives.  Staff from schools and colleges were also consulted on the charter.

The Youth Council took the lead for developing a social media charter for young people, schools and families by young people. The charter has been championed by the chair of the Secondary Heads Consortium and aims to guide young people on safe use of social media, as well as it being a useful resource for schools and parents. The charter acknowledges the benefits of social media platforms but encourages young people to be mindful of what can happen if social media is used in the wrong way. It makes suggestions about how to ‘BE SMART’ online and reminds adults that they also have an important part to play.

An initial draft was developed in consultation with Youth Council members.  This was used as the basis for a further consultation event in March 2016 at which 50 young people attended from 14 different schools and colleges. Young people were engaged in the session and they agreed that there should be a charter and that there was real value in it being developed for young people by young people. Further changes were made to the draft to take account of young people’s feedback. The final version was endorsed at the North Lincolnshire Youth Council (NLYC) in May 2016.

The charter and associated resources have been distributed to schools, both electronically and as paper copies. Schools have been asked champion the charter and they have been encouraged to feed back on how they make use of the resources in their particular setting. The NLYC has acknowledged that the charter is a flexible document and it is committed to refreshing it to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

The Social Media Charter resources are: