Identification of the issue:
The project is aimed at increasing the safety of adolescent girls interacting online. “Cyberbullying can be very damaging to adolescents and teens. According to the Harford County Examiner girls are more likely to be cyberbullied than boys, over half of teens have experienced cyberbullying, and only 1 in ten teens tell a parent about it (1). Cyber bullying victims are more at risk of mental illness such as suicide and depression (1). Cyber-Bullying websites recommend that teens be encouraged to turn off their electronic devices for family time (1). On average teenage girls spend 1 ¾ to 2 ½ hours, and the more time they spend on social media the more likely they are more likely to have unhealthy ideas of appearance (80% of girls in one study were within normal weight parameters, and yet 46% were dissatisfied with their weight) and unrealistic ideas of body image, which leads to low self-esteem, depression and potentially suicide (1 & 2). Adolescent girls seeking essentials such as support, affection, love, and identity from social media are “Setting themselves up for negative mental health outcome” (Melinda Tankard Reist, social commentator (2), This is why it is important for young girls to develop safer alternate sources of these things, such as an inclusive family environment.
Intent: The intent of the project is to redirect potential time on social media to family time, in order to develop communication skills, build trust and support. By teens developing deeper, more trusting, and respectful connections with their families they have an alternate source of support, self-esteem and identity. This reduces time spent on social media (thus reducing risk of poor mental health), and increases quality time with families (thus reducing the risk of behavioral problems and emotional distress(3).
The whole family will be invited, as this will make it more applicable in the home environment and build a sense of solidarity. Approximate limit: 25 families (approximately 75 – 100 people)
Summary: Intro + 8 sessions: Saturdays (nights), 1 ½ hrs
Night 1: Parents only – information, risks of social media, snacks, benefits of program
Night 2: Snacks and Craft, Board games – team building competitions and making of team solidarity/mascot
Night 3: Dinner (?) and Dancing
Night 4: Games: relay races, chasie, scarecrow, kids games active games sack races egg and spoon, bouncy castle, three legged race, slippery dip,
Night 5: Cooking Masterchef – surprise ingredients – race
Night 6: Mess up: Paint balls/water pistols/Finger painting/clay
Night 7: ?
Night 8: ?
Night 9: Activity? Prizes/Certificate/award ceremony
Theoretical principles and underpinnings:
Socialization and the family (Parsons)
Rationale for the project:
The focus on fun rather than information is designed to be more engaging and have subtle long term effects on the family’s ability to interact and connect. By investing in quality family time, families will learn better communication skills and encourage more trusting relationships. This was chosen over informational sessions to reach a wider audience (not just parents) but the whole family. Participants can unconsciously practice the positive skills and see hands on the positive impact it has on their family, and then hopefully apply it at home (ref. from req. reading).
- Redirection of social energy and source of identity: Girls choose to spend time with their families and build relationships because they see it as positive and enjoyable, putting less pressure on them online to conform to peer ideas that may be damaging.
- Not many kids tell about cyber bullying – but if they have a better relationship with their parents in general then the parents are more likely to be told and be able to help.
Goals and objectives:
- Minimise girls time on social media, by encouraging family time.
- Families will learn that they can enjoy each other, and will feely choose to invest more quality time together.
- The creation of a safer alternate source of identity and social fulfilment for adolescent girls.
- Long term benefits of developing better interpersonal skills.
- Attendance record – Indication of engagement, who is attending from the family.
- Quality of participation – level of engagement out of ten (to be recorded by observation by the coordinator of the program)
- Suggestion box available through whole program, checked weekly and program adapted accordingly.
Feedback form at the end of the sessions:
- Did you enjoy the sessions?
- What did you learn from the sessions?
- Are you going to use what you have done here at home?
- What did you least enjoy?
- What session did you like the most?
- Have you found that you spend more time together as a family?
- Have you found that your daughter spends more/less/the same time on social media?
- Have you found that your communication with your daughter has improved?
- Are there any other changes you have noticed in your family?
- Any other comments or suggestions?
- Coordinator/MC –
- Helpers – volunteers – Parents and Teachers Committee–prefects – council workers? – Parents?
- Games – board games, cards,
- Venue hire – tables chairs, kitchen etc. Preferably the school itself
- Photo album/time to collate
- Creche – crèche workers
- Insurance – liability
- Linen for tables/activities
Planning – 2 weeks research and planning (e.g. good timing (not exams)
Prep – doing of the plan – 3 weeks: Hiring staff, organizing insurance, buying equipment, sending out brochures/letters, liaising with school staff.
Program – 9 weeks
Pack up – finalizing loose ends – bond inspection – collate feedback and plan improvements and write a report summarizing the key points of the programs, the outcomes, feedback, suggestion and recommendations. Evaluation of success for future reference.
- Limitation acknowledge that the program does not aim to at what not/to do online, when they are actually online, or how to use the internet.
- Probably will not engage or be effective with girls who at highest risk (have very dysfunctional families) Other programs need to be developed to target girls in this situation e.g. child protection/psychologists etc.
- Potential problems:
- disengagement – dropping out
- Parents do not understand that fun is important in building relationships.
Some of the theories that should be included are about:
- The importance of family in social relations for children
- Family relationships can be strengthened activities
- Social isolation – internet time