Viral Pictures as an E-Safety Activity



In Highland, we’re in the process of revamping a number of our E-Safety activities and resources guidance. Rather than focus on some key resources we’re putting the emphasis on Digital Literacy Skills linked to significant aspects of learning. Skills that can underpin lifelong behaviours and habits no matter what platforms or faddy apps come and go. We particularly like some of the progression frameworks that are provided in the 360 degree safe tool.

One activity we will not be recommending that teachers carry out is the ‘please like this picture and share it so my  class can see how far it goes’ activity. Why? Well here’s a few thoughts… Approaches that emphasise that privacy settings are not a safeguard for inappropriate content or guaranteed confidentiality still remain key. However, although this is a well intended activity, it really does not facilitate the development of essential skills, it is more of a shock based approach, but it is flawed from the outset.

The image comes with an explicit plea / suggestion / command to ‘like and share’, friends, friends of friends etc will naturally feel more compelled to share  – it therefore really does not present a meaningful example of a photo being liked and shared on its own merit. To that end it’s a bit like the old fashioned chain letter. If you want an example of something genuinely going unintentionally viral just look at the recent black and blue / white gold image.

The activity has the potential to cause distress and upset to the teacher  as this recent example highlights. It is a reminder that pictures can be augmented yes, but no educational activity should ever place a teacher or educational professional in a situation of distress.

As part of our approach we ask everyone to become good role models, everyone has a role in creating a safer internet, not contributing to ever increasing unnecessary spam type reposts furnishing the ever present echo chambers that many news feeds have become. The idea that technology can offer opportunities for learners to be creative, develop their own individuality and content is much much more exciting.

Thanks to Simon Finch (Digitally Confident) for kicking off these discussions.


One Response to Viral Pictures as an E-Safety Activity

  1. […] The Highland Council’s Highland E-Safety group does not recommend this approach and you can read all the reasons why they have come to this decision on their most recent blog post. […]