Lesson 1: Wonderful me! Our social media selves

Learn and consider why people may present their life in a different way on social media and the impact this can have on other people.

Learning objective

  • To recognise how information in the media (and online) can affect how people feel about themselves

National curriculum

All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice.

The PSHE Association Programme of Study recommends pupils are taught:

  • H22. Strategies for keeping safe online; the importance of protecting personal information, including passwords, addresses and the distribution of images of themselves and others
  • L18. To critically examine what is presented to them in social media and why it is important to do so; understand how information contained in social media can misrepresent or mislead; the importance of being careful what they forward to others

Success criteria

  • I know what social media is
  • I know that information on social media doesn’t always reflect reality
  • I know that social media can affect how people feel about themselves
  • I know that sometimes people mask their real feelings

Cross-curricular links

  • None relevant for this lesson

Before the lesson

Watch

  • Teacher Video: Wonderful me
Teacher Video: Wonderful me

Have ready

Print

  • Activity: Mask template (see Classroom resources) – on card, one per pupil

Download classroom resources

Activity: Mask template
icon download

Attention grabber

Discuss the different ways that you can tell how someone is feeling.

In pairs, children then play a charades-style game – with one pupil acting sad/disappointed/frustrated/joyful, etc and the other guessing how they are feeling.

While they are doing this, look out for good examples and ask these pupils to share their performance with the class.

Key questions

  • What different types of feelings or emotions can a person have?
  • How can you tell what a person may be feeling?

Main event

Ask the children what is meant by the term ‘social media’, getting them to mention any examples they can think of, for example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Develop this further by asking what these are used for, recording children’s ideas on the board, encouraging them to generate a range of answers rather than repeat the same ideas.

Children may have come up with ideas such as:

  • Keeping in touch with friends
  • Sharing where you are and what you have been doing
  • Showing what is happening in your life
  • Communicating
  • Sharing pictures

Ask whether you can tell how happy someone is by their social media profiles. Discuss this as a class.

Ask how it can make you feel if you see lots of people sharing these images and posts.

Explain that sometimes seeing everyone around you doing amazing things can make you feel like you are not as happy or not doing as much. Discuss:

  1. Trying to be inspired by these images and posts and use them as motivation to try something new or do more to make themselves happier rather than worry about comparing themselves to others.
  2. The lives shown on social media often do not give a full or accurate picture of the person’s actual experiences. For example, people are unlikely to share pictures of themselves being sad and lonely or of a project that has gone wrong. People often want to show themselves in the best possible light and social media gives a platform to do this.

Handout Activity: Mask template to each child. Then, get children to create a mask for a made-up character who presents a very positive image on social media.

They should decorate the mask template, making sure that the character looks very happy, then cut it out carefully. Finally, they should attach this to a wooden lolly stick using sticky tape to create the mask.

Give children the opportunity to get into their characters and discuss with their group what they might say, what they might be thinking, etc. They can then present to their group by saying only good things about their life when holding the mask up, sharing great things they have made or done.

They should then move the mask away and share anything the character might be worried, upset or angry about. To extend this further, children could, still in character, try to explain why they present this image on social media and how it makes them feel.

Extension: Set children the task of creating the profile of the character they have created using ‘Classtools – Fakebook webpage generator’, considering the image they would want to project.

Differentiation

Pupils needing extra support: Might need to work as part of a group in a pair to have someone to share ideas with.

Pupils working at greater depth: Should explain why people might want to share this alternative image of themselves through social media.

Wrapping up

Ask children whether it is just on social media that people can mask their feelings. In what ways could we see this happening away from the online world?

Discuss how people can seem very happy and jolly to hide other feelings to try and protect other people or to present themselves in the best light.

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Describing how someone might talk about their life on social media and explaining how this can make other people feel.

Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Describing why people sometimes present a different image of themselves on social media and how this can make them feel.

Vocabulary

  • Social media

  • Emotions

  • Feelings

Created by:
Elaine Bousfield,  
Wellbeing specialist
Elaine worked for many years as a therapist with young people. She is the founder and chair of XenZone and its children and young people’s counselling service, kooth.com. Kooth delivers an online counselling and therapy service. It is also an online community…
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