Think carefully before you speak your minds on social media
That was the message to Telford College students during a workshop looking at the rights and wrongs of online communication.
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The workshop, delivered by the college’s enrichment co-ordinator Daniel Blasczyk, covered a wide range of issues, including internet trolling, ‘sexting’ and revenge porn.
“The aim was to show our students how to stay safe online, and understand the difference between freedom of speech and offensive online behaviour,” he said.
“Freedom of speech is a British value we are all proud of – but it is increasingly abused on the internet. Online forums, facebook pages and news sites are full of insults, provocative comments and threats.
“We want to make sure our students appreciate the potentially serious consequences of publishing personal and potentially hurtful abuse, known as ‘trolling’. In its most extreme form, it is a criminal offence.”
Students analyse celebrity tweets and discuss the content
During the interactive workshop, students were invited to pick out a range of tweets from celebrities and discuss whether they were merely exercising freedom of speech, or could be classed as offensive online behaviour.
They looked at a variety of controversial and provocative comments, including the use of Twitter by American president Donald Trump, and posts from outspoken columnist Katie Hopkins.
Daniel said: “By the end of the workshop, students had a much a better understanding of communications laws – and the fact that online behaviour can catch up with you much later in your life.
“For example, we looked at the way that former England footballer Phil Neville came under fire for an allegedly sexist tweet he posted in 2014, which resurfaced when he was appointed manager of the national ladies’ football team.”
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