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Like Me – A Short Film For SMSC On The Pressures Teens Face On Social Media

BAFTA-winning site TrueTube releases short drama for schools and families about the pressures of social media

  • Like Me – A Short Film For SMSC On The Pressures Teens Face On Social Media

Most teenagers live and breathe social media, and in Britain over 90% of young people now own a smartphone. At the same time, worrying news stories about young people’s mental health are growing more and more frequent, and the impact of teenagers’ constant social media use on their emotional and psychological wellbeing is still not well understood.

Without the basic empathy that comes from face-to-face interactions, social media can easily slip into something that feels all-intrusive, a modern day Panopticon where all eyes are on you, but it’s not always clear what’s going on behind those eyes. “Why hasn’t so-and-so replied to my text? Is he offended, or just busy?” Well, you don’t know until he gets back to you, and not everyone is able to take the calm and rational approach to presume it’s the latter.

Shakespeare’s oft-quoted line, ‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players’, is incredibly relevant to social media. When you’re sat alone on your phone, laptop, tablet or computer it’s easy to fear the worst. And on the other side of things social media makes it easy to forget that you’re talking to, or about, a real person, not merely a player in your story.

This, in part, is the premise for a new short film from BAFTA-winning educational website TrueTube.co.uk, released for Safer Internet Day on 7 February.

Here’s the film:

Like Me was created to help teachers discuss the pressures and dangers of social media with young people. It imagines the internet as a stage with an infinite audience, where Sophia is online sharing gossip with her friends. When someone shares too much, the audience soon turns nasty.

The film is available for use in assemblies, form times and PSHE lessons where teachers discuss issues of self-image and personal risk with their students. There are also teachers notes available with discussion points and activities such as getting students to Google themselves, then imagine themselves as a potential employer to consider whether they would employ the person as presented online.

“The internet can be a scary place, and young people are sharing intimate details of their lives on social media without realising that nothing online is ever private,” says Bob Ayres, TrueTube’s Creative Director. “We thought of a visual image – being on stage in front of a sometimes-hostile audience – to represent the idea that you’re out there in front of the world. Young people are under huge pressure to ‘perform’: getting the right photo, being seen to be having fun, living a life that other people are going to admire. And it never stops. You leave school at the end of the day, but the gossip, the peer pressure and the bullying follows you home.

“The film isn’t saying that social media is bad – just that you need to be careful, and should reflect on the pressure you might be under. And ultimately it highlights that one-to-one relationships are more important than online adulation.”

The film’s star 16-year-old Isobelle Molloy, who played Matilda in Tim Minchin’s West End musical, and the young version of Angelina Jolie’s character in Disney’s Maleficent, says, “I loved Like Me! I think this message is so important for young people. All young people will relate to this in some way. You never see the dangers that social media can cause. Even just chatting with your friends can cause so many problems. The internet can be amazing, but it can also turn into your worst nightmare. Like Me shows how the popular, happy-go-lucky girl can be sucked into her phone and actually forget who and what really matters.”

Like Me is available to watch and download for free at TrueTube.co.uk/film/me where you can sign up freely to get accompanying teachers notes for the film.

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