Young people urged to wise up on the web

Celebrity voiceover Emma Clarke is urging children and young teenagers to become more web and social media savvy and to use the internet mindfully.

Emma, best known for her ‘Mind The Gap’ announcements on London’s tube trains, has written an activity book aimed at 10-14 years olds encouraging them to confront the good and bad of the internet and to write their own personal guide to getting the best out of it safely.

She says that with sexting and cyber bullying on the increase, it’s vital that young people think about what they would do if they or one of their friends became affected or involved:

“Everything we post on the internet leaves a digital footprint and young people often don’t realise that,” says Emma.

“That’s why it’s important to ‘pause before you post’ and ask what impression you are giving of yourself online and what your parents, teachers and perhaps future employers might think if they saw it.”

Emma’s book, Virtually Me – your manifesto for online life, adopts a unique approach – it doesn’t give answers, instead it encourages its young readers to reach their own conclusions:

“I’ve used a mixture of activities, scenarios and moral dilemmas to encourage readers to think about their internet use, such as what should be made public and what should be kept private, how to keep yourself safe online, how to handle awkward online situations and how to use the internet in creative and inspiring ways.

“The readers are in charge and at the end are invited to write their own manifesto for their online life. It’s designed to help them self regulate and figure out their own personal policy on how to handle social media and digital devices.”

MINDFUL MESSAGING: Emma explains her latest brainchild to help kids wise up on the web. 

VIRTUALLY ME INCLUDES A NUMBER OF SEARCHING QUESTIONS AND MORAL DILEMMA SCENARIOS INCLUDING:

  • One of your friends has asked you to photograph your homework so they can copy it – what you gonna do?
  • What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done online, and what would your parents think if they knew?
  • What would you do if a friend asked you to do something or post something online you were uncomfortable with?
  • A friend has been deliberately excluded from a photo share or invitation – what you gonna do?
  • Your latest photo upload – is it to share something awesome or to humiliate someone?
  • Do you know the age limits on social media sites and are you old enough to have joined?
  • How many of your online friends do you actually know?
  • How would you feel if your mum, dad, teacher or favourite auntie read your latest social media post?
  • Do you think your parents and teachers know enough about social media and the internet to give you advice?

EMMA CLARKE  is a writer, broadcaster and award-winning voiceover who has written plays, sketches and sitcoms for radio, television and stage and also dabbles in stand-up comedy.

At the age of fifteen, Emma was presented with an award by Princess Diana, but made her media debut in her local newspaper at the age of three months because she was born with thick curly dark hair which some people mistook for a wig!

Virtually Me – your manifesto for online life is Emma’s fourth book. All of her publications contain activity strands with readers invited to write, splodge or stick memories to the pages, and have a mindfulness theme running through them.

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