BRADFORD Grammar School is tackling concerns about the way children use social media and its effects on their well-being.

The Children’s Commissioner’s recent report ‘Life in Likes’ revealed that many children are finding social media hard to manage, and becoming over-dependent on ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ for social validation. The school recently held the latest in a series of talks on the issue, by straight-talking New Yorkers Allison Havey and Deana Puccio, Founders of the RAP Project.

They aimed to raise awareness of the negative effects of social media, while openly discussing how social media influences attitudes and expectations from personal safety to sexual assault.

Pupil Lottie Kingsley, Year 10 from Bingley, said: "It was really good, and they involved all the pupils really well.

"It was quite surprising just how real some of these stories are and it really brought it home to me.”

Kate Mighell, 14 from Farsley, added: "You don’t realise how serious situations can get but it’s great to have that straight forward advice and support on how to handle yourself and support others with anything concerning online.”

Mrs Puccio said: "All these children are dealing with the same issues no matter where they live and what school they go to. Yet, because of social media and 24/7 access they’re all exposed to the same challenges - this is true of Bradford as it is anywhere else.”

Mrs Havey added: “The main problem is that teenagers inhabit a world that we don’t know much about, so we feel we have little to offer and our generation is always playing catch-up. I think it’s fabulous that BGS is one step ahead of the game, bridging the gap for parent, pupils and staff alike, and leading the way in developing an appropriate response to the growing epidemic of social media uncertainties amongst young people and adults throughout the country.”

Jane Chapman, Assistant Head Pastoral said: “We are acutely aware that members of the public, young people, parents and teachers all need reassurance and confidence to do more to prepare children for the emotional impact of social media as they get older. At BGS we have always placed a premium on our pastoral care, fostering a broad range of interests outside the classroom to nurture resilient and characterful young people that are able to navigate complex modern life and make the most of opportunities.”