‘Munch, Poke, Ping’ is a media project that aims to help vulnerable young people and those who work with them to better understand the risks of being online and reducing internet crime and abuse.
Based on preparatory research, the work is targeted at a group of young people who, to date, have not been an area of focus for internet safety – those being taught and supported in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs).
The project is run by Carrick-Davies Associates, an independent consultancy working in the field of ICT, specifically looking at how it impacts on children’s lives, parenting, schools and wider society.
The following film which has been devised and acted by students from a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in Croydon, South London. Through drama and filmmaking, the project gives young people an opportunity to explore how social media can be used positively for learning and social integration. It also seeks to support those staff working with vulnerable young people and to encourage them to use social media in a creative way.
PURPOSE OF THIS FILM - TO HELP YOUNG PEOPLE QUESTION!
In working with the young people over many weeks in making this film, we faced a real challenge. How could we allow the young people to relay their true-to-life experiences and the contradictions which social media throws up, whilst also producing a resource which could help them (and others) understand important, relevant safety advice?
Most of the young people in this film had experienced the pain of getting caught in the spiral of casual cruelty and meanness that technology can amplify. Teenage years are hard enough as they are without this added pressure of online mistrust and reputation assignation. If you have very little in life, your reputation is everything! The film explores some of this real life tension. For example the youth felt that teachers in the main ‘don’t understand how it feels’ when things go wrong online. That it was naive to simply say “just don’t get involved!” For them, cyberbullying was just part of the reality. We have kept this tension in the film and have designed it to really help other young people think and explore difficult issues from a victim’s point of view. Indeed the young people’s experience points to the fact that victims so often continue to feel isolated, misunderstood and in need of some closure even if that includes retaliating.
There are some aspects of the film which are purposefully ambiguous and leave both teachers and young people asking questions. This is deliberate and helps build curiosity which in turn helps unlock discussion and questions. For example, does Elis really forgive his fellow students? Does the teacher in the film really not know how it feels? Does Elis get his own back in the end? Is that the right thing to do?
For a behind the scenes look at the making of this film, plus a range of additional resources and information, visit the Munch, Poke, Ping website.
Supported by Nominet Trust, ‘Munch, Poke, Ping’ is working with students in PRUs to produce six films that tackle e-safety issues (one film in each pair for a student audience and one for staff). In this pioneering approach, the films are co-designed by the students, working with a professional filmmaker. It is the students who decide the theme, develop the dialogue and star in the film.
Insights and wider influence
The project showcases the positive use of social media to young people, helps practitioners to develop participatory learning resources, and will ultimately lead to the development of a unique Acceptable Use Policy Toolkit as a resource for staff working with vulnerable young people. All of the films produced will be updated onto a central ‘Munch Poke Ping’ website and resources made available to benefit a much wider audience.
The programme will culminate in a national conference at which those young people who have been involved in the project will meet each other, share insights and challenge a wider group of stakeholders so that further policy and practice can be updated.