PSHE / Citizenship / Computing GCSE: Self Image and Mental Wellbeing

Using a real life story, this short film looks at the negative effects that social media can have on our mental wellbeing.

It explains what is attractive about social media and the way that it can seem to work to provide external validation for an individual’s choices and actions.

The film presents a true story that talks through some of the extreme consequences of using social media, as well as the positive uses of online activity.

It emphasises the highly curated nature of social media and online representations and reinforces the ways that young people can control how they interact with the online world.

The top tips section at the end should provide useful take-away points for students.

Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we strongly advise teacher viewing before watching with your pupils.

Teacher Notes

This short film could be used to highlight the unreality of social media and the idea of curating an image.

Prior to watching the film students could do a think-pair-share on how/why films are different to reality.

This involves individuals thinking about their own view for 30-60 seconds and then sharing their ideas with their partner.

You could then ask different students to share what their partner said with the rest of the class.

The first 55 seconds of the film could then be shown, with students identifying how people can make their online presence appear a particular way.

Students could focus on Emma’s story and the way that a person’s mental health can be impacted by external events.

Students can start by identifying positive and negative aspects of social media. They can then identify different positive and negative feelings that social media can elicit.

After watching the film, they can add to these lists. Students could make suggestions for other students about how to switch off from social media.

Remember to have an anonymous question box available so that students can ask questions that they think of during lessons that focus on difficult and sensitive issues.

Links to new statutory RSE and HE curriculum (secondary)

Pupils should be aware of the impact of time spent online and the positive aspects of online support and negotiating social media.

Pupils should be taught how to judge when they, or someone they know, needs support and where they can seek help if they have concerns.

Mental wellbeing: how to critically evaluate when something they do or are involved in has a positive or negative effect on their own or others’ mental health.

Internet safety and harms: the impact of unhealthy or obsessive comparison with others online (including through setting unrealistic expectations for body image), how people may curate a specific image of their life online, how to be a discerning consumer of information online.

Health and prevention: the importance of sufficient good quality sleep for good health.

Other subject areas

This short film could be used across other subject areas such as health and social care, computing, English, science or business studies.

In science the film could be used as a stimulus to talk about dopamine loops or how the chemicals in the brain respond to positive validation.

In health and social care Emma’s story could be used as a case-study for students to assess the best ways of dealing with the mental health problems that she is presenting with.

The film could also be a good starting point in business studies in considering how advertising is used to make us feel certain ways and how this translates into social media.

Curriculum Notes

This series touches on elements of PSHE, citizenship and computing at GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4 and 5 in Scotland.

More Digital Literacy / Online Security:

Fake News
Live Streaming
Copyright and Ownership
Sensitive Pictures
Online Gaming
Trolling and Cyber-Bullying
Digital Footprint
Online Security

Internal learning-related resources: