Schools/Parents information


This is a research study involving young people aged 11-18 years old. Before they decide whether they would like to take part it is important that they understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Students will need the consent of a parent/guardian before being able to take part. The school itself will also need to give consent to say they are happy for the research to take place beforehand. 

Please do take some time to read the information about the research and consider discussing it with students in advance. The most important thing to stress is that participation is completely voluntary and students can withdraw at any point if they do not want to take part. 

If you have any further questions, queries or concerns about the research that are not addressed on this website, please contact the researcher directly and she will be happy to help in any way she can. Click on the heading marked ‘Contact’ for details.

*** Frequently Asked Questions ***

WHAT ARE YOU RESEARCHING? … I am interested in what students think about certain behaviours and comments on social media and the Internet, particularly in relation to notions of ‘risk’ and ‘responsibility’ online and via digital forms of communication.

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? … There have been a lot of stories in the news recently about young people getting into trouble over something that’s been said or done online and I’m interested in what students themselves think about different behaviours in a digital context.

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO FIND OUT? … As much as I can about young people’s opinions. There are no right or wrong answers: It’s simply a chance for young people to have their say about what they think and for me to gather first-hand, in-depth information about their views.

HOW DOES IT WORK? … I’ll be going into schools to run a workshop, where I’ll give out different examples of comments or behaviours on social media. Students will have a chance to discuss them in pairs or small groups, and then tell the rest of us what they think about them. I’ll be making some notes of what students say. Afterwards I’ll explain to the class what (if any) legal problems there could be with each example.

HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? … Only as long as a normal class at school would take, so depending on group size and the school timetable, anywhere between 45 minutes and 1 hour 15 minutes.

WHERE WILL IT TAKE PLACE? … All the research workshops will happen within the school day and on school property, most likely within a normal classroom.

WHAT DO THE STUDENTS GET OUT OF IT? … Firstly, the opportunity to put forward their views about social media to someone who is interested in what they have to say. Secondly, they will learn a fair amount about UK Media and Communications law from a qualified, professional journalist, in a fun and engaging way. After the workshop, students will hopefully have a much better idea about what kinds of things could get them into trouble online and have any questions answered by someone who is fully trained in Media Law and Ethics.

WHO CAN TAKE PART? … Any students aged between 11 and 18 years old who are attending a Secondary school and have consented to take part.

WHAT DO STUDENTS NEED TO DO? … Just attend the workshop and share their thoughts. Beforehand, I’ll need to get each student to sign a consent form to say they’re happy for me to take notes of what’s said. Likewise, parents or guardians will need to give their consent for their son or daughter to take part. Examples of these can be found under the heading ‘Consent Forms’.

WHAT IF A STUDENT DOESN’T WANT TO TAKE PART? … That’s fine. This is a voluntary workshop, so students don’t have to take part if they don’t want to. They just need to let their teacher know. If students, teachers or parents are unsure about anything, or want to ask more questions, they can get in touch with me via the ‘Contact’ page.

WHAT IF A STUDENT CHANGES THEIR MIND? … That’s okay too. Even if the workshop has already started, if a student decides they don’t want to continue, they don’t have to – they just need to let me or their teacher know.

WHAT WILL THE RESEARCH BE USED FOR? … The notes I’ve made from the session will form the basis of my thesis, which is part of my PhD. The findings will eventually be published so that academics, people in education and anyone else who may be interested can read about it. I may also share some of my findings at conferences and events, or with other organisations who may be interested (such as the police, other schools, education authorities or even social media companies themselves).

WILL STUDENTS BE IDENTIFIED? … No. The notes I make will only reference students’ age and gender, so there will be no way of identifying any one student who’s taken part. The schools themselves will not be named in the final research findings.

CAN WE SEE THE RESULTS? … Some of the notes from the class will be shared with teachers from the school straight afterwards, during a meeting with me. This is because:

  1. They may be interested to hear about what students have said
  2. It could help them plan future classes related to the Internet and Social Media safety
  3. In case of any issues arising from the workshop they need to be aware of (for example, if a student could be at risk).

The final results will eventually be published and available to anyone who’s interested, including the schools and students who took part. If your school wants a copy of the final published results, you just need to let me know.

WHAT IF SOMETHING WORRYS OR UPSETS A STUDENT? … If a student is upset or uncomfortable about anything and wants to leave the workshop, they just need to let me or their teacher know. If a student is worried about themselves or another student, because of something that’s been talked about in the workshop, its really important they tell either their teacher, me or another trusted adult about it.

If I (the researcher) think a student might be at risk, because of something that’s been said or done during the workshop, then I have to tell a teacher at the school about it. This is another reason why it is important for me to meet with at least one member of staff straight after the class. This is what’s known as ‘Child Safeguarding’. Each school will have a Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) who can explain more about this and is also the best person to talk to about any concerns. You can also see the section marked ‘Safeguarding’ for more details.

There are lots of organisations who can help give advice and support when it comes to issues around young people, the Internet and social media.There are a list of organisations that might be useful, plus links to their website and contact details under the heading ‘Further Support’.

ARE YOU OKAY TO WORK WITH CHILDREN? … The university has completed checks to make sure I’m okay to work with children. This is done through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).  I now have a certificate proving that I have no previous offences and am allowed to work with children, which I can show to schools on request. I’ve also made sure I’ve had Child Protection Training, so that I can recognise, respond to and know how to report any concerns I might have with regard to students safety. I’ve done this by completing an online course through the NSPCC. More information on this can be found under the ‘Safeguarding’ heading.

I’ve also had quite a lot of experience working with young people before, as I’ve already delivered this kind of training to thousands of young people across Secondary schools in Surrey. You can find out more about that by clicking on ‘Previous Work’ or ‘Testimonials’.

Finally: If you have any other questions please do feel free to get in touch with me directly. I’m happy to answer any questions from parents, teachers, students or anyone else who is interested in what I’m doing. Click on the heading ‘Contact’ to find out more.

WHAT IF THE RESEARCH ISN’T COMPLETED/STOPS? … If the project is stopped or not finished for any reason, the information and notes that have been collected will be destroyed and won’t be used.

WHAT IF THERE IS A PROBLEM? …  If you have any problems, concerns or queries about this study, you should first speak directly to the researcher (my details can be found under the ‘contact’ heading). If you remain unhappy and wish to complain formally, you can do this through the University complaints procedure by speaking to the Secretary to the Senate Research Ethics Committee:  Anna Ramberg (Email: or telephone: 020 7040 3040).

City University London holds insurance policies which apply to this study. If you feel you have been harmed or injured by taking part in this study you may be eligible to claim compensation. This does not affect your legal rights to seek compensation. If you are harmed due to someone’s negligence, then you may have grounds for legal action.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information.


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