At our most recent training last weekend, two of our XLM Coordinators were particularly struck by the input on how social media and the internet impact young people today, particularly how it affects their real-life relationships. Mentoring can be such a powerful way to cut through the virtual, digital, kept-at-arms-length relationships in a young person’s life and provide them with face to face conversation….to let them be seen.

One of the XLM Coordinators, Becky, put together her thoughts here in a beautifully written blog post here. She includes some really useful statistics too. She is based in a small church in Southend, so make sure to get in touch with her if any of it resonates with you.

Another XLM Coordinator, Alex, gave us a really helpful link here to help us understand the difference between how adults and young people view technology. The terms explained here can help us think through how much we seek to understand where young people are coming from. Alex teaches in a Pupil Referral Unit in Birmingham working with some really tough young people, so if you’d like to chat more with him, give him a shout on the Coordinator’s Forum.

And just to remind you, you might want to look at the documentary called ‘In Real Life’ being released on September 20th which is about teenagers using the internet. The creator and director, Beeban Kidron believe that we are “entrapping our young people into the online world” without giving them the tools they need to educate or protect themselves. She also believes that the more and more time young people spend online cultivating virtual relationships, the less engaged they become in real life relationships.

Here is a link to an article on the documentary from the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/sep/08/beeban-kidron-inreallife-interview-teenagers 

Internet safety is such a important topic to explore with young people, something that mentors would benefit from additional training on. What resources or information sources have you found particularly helpful on the topic of internet safety?

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