New SEND (special education needs and disabilities) resources

I am delighted to be able to share some exciting news with you – Media Smart has been awarded a DCMS grant to adapt and create a new SEND (special education needs and disabilities) version of our popular film-based educational resource – ‘TikTok: Adverts, Creators and You’ – and it’s now available to download. For use in PSHE and Media Studies – Key Stage 3, 4 5.

Media Smart is one of only five organisations to be awarded the funding by DCMS. This is the first time we have adapted our resources for SEND pupils and our ambition is to use the research to future proof and adapt all our resources so they will be more inclusive for all students.

These adapted SEND teaching resources and films feature successful TikTok Creators and will empower 13 to 17-year-olds with the tools they need to navigate TikTok’s commercial side, ensuring they have the most positive online experience possible.

It will also assist teachers, parents and carers who want to supplement their own knowledge to help young people confidently and securely use TikTok.

We cannot wait to hear what you and your students think of these materials. There are two lessons which include ‘TikTok’ style films featuring our incredible content creators – who bring this important subject to life in the most authentic way possible.

If you’re looking for something current and engaging that provides young people with an insight into how social media can be enjoyed critically whilst also giving them an insight into online advertising, you’ve found it!

Please share these new SEND teaching resources with your schools and parents, we’re so proud of these resources and think it brings a whole new opportunity to the school.

Rachel Barber-Mack
Director of Media Smart

P.S. did you know we have 11 FREE resources for educators, parents and guardians? Including lessons, films and guides on Advertising, Body Image, Social Media and Influencer Marketing. Here are a few of the latest ones available for you to download and share today…

Influencer Marketing

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Media Smart’s latest resource is aimed at helping teens understand the commercial link between social influencers and the brands they may be promoting. The rising number of social influencers in young people’s lives has prompted us to create a film-based PSHE teaching resource, the first of its kind to tackle this area of marketing.

How to manage your online advert experience

For 11-16 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

In this new resource, we feature an animated film and classroom materials to support pupil discussions around interest-based advertising, why it exists, and how young people can best manage it. Students may be surprised to learn that this sort of advertising funds so many of the free platforms they use every day, from apps and websites to search engines.

Piracy: What’s the big deal?

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Did you know one in four over 12s have illegally downloaded film content in the last three months? That’s the highest rate of piracy in the UK in the previous five years. At Media Smart, we have teamed up with Sky, The Industry Trust, The Intellectual Property Office, and MPA to develop a new PSHE accredited secondary school resource to help young people understand piracy and IP infringement implications.

Media Smart is hiring a Digital Marketing Manager

We are an award-winning, non-profit, education programme from the advertising industry. Our mission is to ensure that every child in the UK aged 7 – 16 can confidently navigate the media they consume, including being able to identify, interpret and critically evaluate all forms of advertising.

Media Smart provides free teaching resources and parent guides on subjects like social media, body image, influencer marketing, piracy and creative careers. Thousands of UK teachers have been using our media and digital literacy materials since 2002.

As Digital Marketing Manager, you will be responsible for content marketing and social media marketing strategies to build a brand identity and online presence by creating and distributing multimedia content online. This involves developing content strategies, creating valuable content, growing our audience, driving traffic to our website, and tracking our community’s growth.

Teens and screens: Exploring the relationship between 10 to 16 year-olds and advertising.

Today’s media landscape is in constant flux, and young people are exposed to more online advertising than ever before. Media Smart teamed up with youth centred creative business, Livity, to commission and conduct this report, which dives into the digital behaviours of 10 to 16 year-olds today.

Media Smart is the award-winning, non-profit education programme from the advertising industry.

Our mission is to ensure that every child in the UK, aged 7 – 16, can confidently navigate the media they consume including being able to identify, interpret and critically evaluate all forms of advertising.

We saw an opportunity to explore the topic of teaching advertising literacy among young people. The aim? To uncover their true understanding of digital advertising, find out the things they need extra support with, and establish what they need to help with to stay safe online.

Media Smart joins TikTok

Did you know Media Smart is now on TikTok? We’ve joined the 689 million monthly active users worldwide!

We’ve joined, as later this year, we’ll be releasing an exciting educational resource to support young people on TikTok – particularly around the commercial side of the platform and the advertising + branded content they might see.

This has involved lots of research on TikTok and testing out different types of content.

We’ve learnt a lot already!

  • TikTok is a free social media app that lets you watch, create, and share videos right from your phone.
  • The official age for TikTok is 13 +
  • You can share videos of music, sound effects, or you can just talk!
  • The platform is a fun, creative outlet for tweens and teens (and parents too!) when used safely and responsibly.

Are there ads on TikTok?

  • TikTok does have ads (that’s why it’s free to use), similar to other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
  • As with any social channels, it’s critical that when children sign up to the app, they enter their correct details and date of birth; otherwise, this will affect the type of ads and content they see
  • Earlier this year, TikTok updated its privacy settings for young people. Drawing on guidance from youth safety experts, they’ve now implemented new account settings on a global basis for under 18s, both to existing users as well as new joiners.

If you want to know more about setting up, understanding and navigating the app safely, head to NetAware. There is invaluable information from ….family pairing and encouraging young people to talk about what they share and see.

Also, check out the new #LearnWithTikTok campaign. TikTok has collaborated with over 800 creators from educators, experts, real-world skills creators and non-profits to help deliver more learning content and TikTok tutorials.

Watch this space for more info on our new resource, and please let us know what you think about our new TikTok account.

Did you know we have 11 FREE resources for educators, parents and guardians? Including lessons, films and guides on Advertising, Body Image, Social Media, and Influencer Marketing.  Here are a few of the latest ones available for you to download and share today.

Influencer marketing 

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Media Smart’s latest resource is aimed at helping teens understand the commercial link between social influencers and the brands they may be promoting. The rising number of social influencers in young people’s lives has prompted us to create a film-based PSHE teaching resource, the first of its kind to tackle this area of marketing.

How to manage your online advert experience

For 11-16 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

In this new resource, we feature an animated film and classroom materials to support pupil discussions around interest-based advertising, why it exists, and how young people can best manage it.  Students may be surprised to learn that this sort of advertising funds so many of the free platforms they use every day, from apps and websites to search engines.

Piracy: What’s the big deal?

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Did you know one in four over 12s have illegally downloaded film content in the last three months?  That’s the highest rate of piracy in the UK in the previous five years.  At Media Smart, we have teamed up with Sky, The Industry Trust, The Intellectual Property Office, and MPA to develop a new PSHE accredited secondary school resource to help young people understand piracy and IP infringement implications.

Media Smart in First News

Media Smart wrote a special report on their new educational resource helping young people to get smart about online adverts First News is the No1 children’s newspaper in the Uk  

One to show the kids in your life who are regularly online.

Click to enlarge or download PDF

Dan Clays appointed new Chair of Media Smart

UK advertising’s non-profit education programme, Media Smart, has announced Dan Clays, Chief Executive of Omnicom Media Group in the UK, as its new Chair. He has taken over from Mark Lund, CEO McCann Worldgroup Media, following six years at the helm since the relaunch of the initiative.

Dan has taken on the role of Media Smart Chair at an exciting time for the programme, when its core aim of ensuring young people in the UK can confidently navigate and interpret the media and advertising they consume has never been more vital. Since 2002, with support from its members, Media Smart has created free media and digital literacy resources for teachers, parents and youth organisations working with 7-16-year olds. Over the past five years, its resources have been downloaded across the UK over 68,000 times, directly reaching over half a million young people. This success has continued with resource downloads for the second half of 2019 up by 27% on previous periods.

Past education resources from Media Smart have focused on social media, digital advertising, influencer marketing and body image. Most recently, at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, Media Smart launched a new resource to encourage young people to lead healthier lifestyles setting them the challenge of creating an advert to promote eating more vegetables to their peers. This resource is part of the wider Eat Them To Defeat campaign, which launched in January 2019 and has since seen over 650,000 children eating more vegetables, and 18 million more units of vegetables sold. As of June 2020, there have been 63,000 views of the resource page on the Media Smart website, its Facebook campaign has reached 454,000 users and the resource has been download 270 times, with this figure increasing steadily each week.

Media Smart’s emphasis on online resources has meant that it has been able to navigate the new world of remote teaching quickly and effectively during COVID-19, and has been well placed to support parents, teachers and pupils to keep learning. In April for example, visits to the Media Smart website more than doubled compared to the same time last year – from 10,000 to 26,000 – demonstrating the appetite for the programme’s free teaching materials.

In another marker of Media Smart’s success, it was shortlisted in two categories for The Corporate Engagement Awards – Best Educational Programme and Best Charity, NGO or NFP Programme. Moreover, Media Smart Director, Rachel Barber-Mack, is also a finalist for the 2020 Global Good Individual Leader of the Year for her work on the programme.

Forthcoming projects for Media Smart include campaigns on Piracy, Data and Branded content – all key topics at a time when young people’s digital and media consumption is at a record high.

Commenting on the news, Dan said:

“Media Smart is such an important and increasingly relevant organisation on so many levels and a big part of my role, supporting Rachel, will be for more people in our industry to understand what it provides and how it can be supported. I can’t think of any client, media owner or agency who shouldn’t lean in to find out more. As addressability accelerates and advertising moves well beyond conventional forms, Media Smart provides an invaluable educational resource and guidance for children, parents and teachers to navigate the new media landscape with confidence and safety. “The team also does incredible work spotlighting our industry as a future career choice, particularly for children from schools who might never have imagined it. So for everyone who cares long term about how the industry stays effective and trusted; how it can keep growing audiences safely and provide an exciting career choice for diverse young talent; Media Smart is a brilliant organisation that can be even better known. I’m delighted to be able to support Rachel and the team.”

Media Smart Director, Rachel Barber-Mack, echoed Dan commenting: “We are extremely proud of what Media Smart has achieved since relaunch in 2014, including record resource downloads, a 50% increase in industry supporters, trebling our annual not-for-profit budget and award nominations. I’m delighted that Dan is joining the team as Chair and excited about working with him to take the programme to a whole new level in this next chapter.”

Advertising Association Chief Executive Stephen Woodford welcomed Dan, saying: “I’d like to welcome Dan Clays to his new role as Chair of Media Smart, following in the footsteps of Mark Lund, who has led the initiative superbly over the last six years. Dan is one of the most highly regarded media leaders in the UK and brings a wealth of experience to this new role. Media Smart’s mission of building media literacy among children and young people is a vital part of being a responsible industry and this is the leading initiative, with broad cross-industry support from the leading companies in advertising. With children and young people consuming media like never before, I know Dan is both professionally and personally committed to ensuring that this crucial age group understands how to navigate the media landscape safely and with the confidence that media literacy knowledge brings.”

New creative careers resource for homeschooling

As of Friday 23rd March, most of the schools closed in the UK.  Many teachers and families are now looking at ways they can educate and entertain children at home. We want to let you know about our new teaching resources and remind you about all the other free educational materials we provide.

These are unprecedented time, but at Media Smart, we want to continue to support educators and parents. We have a back catalogue of fantastic resources that you can download or access online absolutely free – they are easy to use and adaptable.

Today, we have launched a brand-new creative careers film resource based on ITV and Veg Power’s Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign, its aim is to encourage healthier eating among secondary school-age children. It takes students behind the scenes of a leading communications agency to help young people understand the advertising creation process while encouraging consideration of a career in advertising.

Television presenter Dr Ranj Singh is also supporting us, by setting a challenge for teenagers to create their own advert. There’s a whole exercise where they can plan their advert out from the idea through to creating it.

The resource pack includes film interviews with the team that created the original Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign, whose mission was to encourage primary age children to eat more vegetables.

Eat Them To Defeat launched in January 2019 and has seen over 650,000 children eating more vegetables and 18 million more units of vegetables sold – enough for an extra portion of vegetables on every family dinner table in the UK for each week of the campaign.

You can access the film, lessons and activities here.

You can also access other primary school and secondary school resources here.

We hope you find them useful and a creative relief during this difficult time! Please do share your photos and advert ideas on Twitter and make sure you tag us @mediasmartuk and add the hashtag #EatThemToDefeatThem.

We will be posting ongoing homeschooling tips and advice on our Twitter and Facebook.

Best wishes

Rachel Barber-Mack
Director of Media Smart

First News reports on Influencer Marketing

Media Smart’s Director, Rachel Barber-Mack, wrote a special report on Influencer Marketing for the UK’s national newspaper for young people.

One to show the kids in your life using social media…

Click to enlarge or download PDF

Parents’ guide to gaming

It’s always great to hear how other parents are tackling this controversial topic, especially when you have younger offspring than them.

We asked parents (and guardians), what rules and guidelines they put in place for gaming and about the challenges they’ve had to deal with. Rather than banning it completely, the resounding advice was that if you don’t show them how to moderate their screen time and the amount of time they are gaming then who will? Gaming addiction can be a real problem and we have an opportunity to teach them about moderation. An essential life skill.

Read some of these useful insights from parents:

Check the age guidelines of the video games

“Fortnite has a 12 rating. I prefer Minecraft/racing games/Fifa as they can play together, so although it’s screen time it’s collaborative and social. I’m prone to hide the lead at night, so when they sneak down early in the morning, they can’t avoid the rules!”

“We have found Fortnite very addictive and it also has an age 12 for a reason. It’s hard to stick to age ratings when ‘everyone else’ is allowed to play. But I don’t allow them to play if the rating is more than one year ahead of their actual age.”

“My son wants to play Call of Duty game which I’ve said no to as it’s an 18. Getting the usual peer pressure of “X has it, Y has it” (even though their mothers tell me they do not have it!!).”

Lots of kids love video games but struggle to self-manage so they need guidelines

“My kids love video games but would never self-manage. It’s pretty much weekends only in this house after they’ve done some exercise, helped and done their homework. They still then have a time limit”.

It’s game dependent, some are designed to be more addictive than others

“Any time pressure in a game is specifically programmed to be addictive and that’s where the problems begin (in my opinion), also any games where they are part of a community and will be letting people down if they don’t participate is also worrying. Chose games wisely I say!”

Ask other parents about games you’re concerned about…

“I’m mean and banned Fortnite after another mum told me how her sons’ behaviour went downhill after playing it. So we never had it. My 9-year-old has been fine with that, but generally gets very obsessed with games. He’s just started building command blocks in Minecraft (coding) and I love that. He also does coding club at school so maybe encouraging more of that is the way to go…”

Discuss the reasons why you are setting gaming restrictions

“Gaming is a kind of social currency so while the boys are happier in themselves with less gaming, they feel it affects their friendships”.

“We discuss all the reasons for the restrictions and they have other interests out of the house, e.g. DofE, Explorers, and so on. But at home the default activity is gaming and when we take it away, they watch gaming videos on YouTube!”

Talk to the parents of your kids’ friends to see how they manage gaming guidelines

“I do encourage my 14-year-old to go out with friends more, but am meeting resistance from other mothers. Many say they’d rather their sons were at home gaming because then they know where they are and that they’re safe”.

My advice to those with primary school kids would be to tackle any gaming issues now as it only gets harder later and if my two weren’t used to us keeping an eye on them, I don’t know where we’d be”.

My son is somewhat addicted to certain games! He also probably plays more than he should (because I’m a single mum spinning too many plates), but he does get off it when I ask him to. It’s just that I find that he gets back on it an hour later. He definitely doesn’t play outside as much as he used to. Three of his friends’ mums and I have talked about limiting them and so we’ve collectively given the same message to the boys and agreed on some limits”.

“I do recognise that this is how the kids are communicating and chatting to each other (they all have headsets). I can hear him having conversations about things not to do with the game, as well as much laughter and it’s all good-natured, so perhaps they are more than just games, but today’s version of the phone. I don’t mind if he wants to unwind for a while after school doing this. He does recognise though that it isn’t always the best thing to be doing and will periodically ask me to limit it for him”.

Play the games with your kids

“I think it’s good for parents to play with them sometimes, entering their world and taking an interest. Makes it seem less like we are the mean video game police!”

You need to adapt the rules depending on your child

“Eldest has just started Y7 and is sensible so doesn’t moan too much when I tell him to take a break. The youngest is constantly on his tablet and sometimes throws a wobbly when told to stop and we’ve had issues all Summer”.

“As someone who has previously worked in the video games industry, I know the dangers so limiting screen-time is definitely important!”

Set clear guidelines for when they can have video games

“My kids are only allowed games on weekends and not all day. They are pretty sensible about it, to be honest. We also talk about why it’s not a good idea to game the whole time so they know it’s not without reason”.

“We have programmed the router to restrict access so they can only play for 1 hour 15 mins Mon-Fri and on Sunday Mornings, two 1-hour slots on Saturday”.

Harness their creativity through tech

“I think I’ve turned my kids into mini entrepreneurs, the 9-year-old has started a “writing club” at school, they create stories online for classmates. Give them a topic and they write it up for you in cartoon format, the stories are amazing and hilarious. He now develops the short stories via google voice typing and he has “business meetings” instead of playdates. So, the long and short of it is – harness their creativity and keep them busy with other related tech activities”

Incorporate computer use and gaming into offline activities as well

“Don’t forget the good ole pen and paper method and then get them to put it into text on the computer. Mine are mesmerized by things like MS paint and Canva (which I use for my own work and business)”.

Many games are seen as “free” but actually have in-app* purchases

“I prefer to buy games and pay upfront for them rather have the constant nagging from my kids to buy the next thing that will get them to another level or enhance the game for them”.

*Media Smart outlines what an in-app purchase is in its free Digital Advertising resources.

Digital advertising teaching resources.

Parent guide on digital advertising and social media.

Written by Ruth Gilbey