Now that pupils are suitably armed with some of the knowledge that underpins the processes we go through when making choices, the focus of the Choices shifts to developing the necessary skills to apply that knowledge in real-world scenarios.
Last week, they completed Session Six, which marks a pivotal stage in the learning journey pupils are on as it brings all of the central concepts together and challenges them to think about how the vulnerability that young people sometimes experience can lead to them being influenced, and how they might unwittingly communicate this to the broader world through their actions, behaviours and online posts! Importantly, this helps them see how others might use this to manipulate them, putting their future at significant risk. This knowledge empowers young people to want to take greater control of their future, developing the knowledge, skills and strategies to recognise and remove themselves from potentially exploitative real-world situations.
During the Session, pupils took another detailed look at the character of Marcus and were encouraged to empathise with his predicament, explore what drives him to make certain decisions and, in particular, how he was influenced to do things he shouldn’t. In the simplest sense, this kind of negative influence might be described as grooming. In this case, we’re simply talking about a process by which someone intentionally and deliberately manipulates another. Pupils considered how this might play out online and how people, even friends, sometimes behave differently online. This serves as a helpful reminder that, despite the generally positive role technology plays in young people’s lives, there are associated risks from online interactions that can result in them being identified, targeted and accessed by those who might lure them towards harmful outcomes. Understanding this will prepare them for the next Session, where they’ll look at those outcomes and their consequences in detail.
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