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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2021 - 2022

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 0
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module is designed to provide student teachers and other students interested in this topic with a broad understanding of the dynamics of social media and how it relates to young people’s wellbeing. The goal of the module is to provide students with the necessary understanding of various online safety risks (specifically focusing on social media); but also with an understanding of positive outcomes for young people’s wellbeing associated with social media use. Upon module completion, students will have acquired an understanding of the continuously changing social media landscape; as well as an understanding of the key risks and their impacts on young people’s wellbeing, such as: grooming, cyberbullying, hate speech, pornography and child pornography, sexting, self-harming and pro-ana/pro-mia content, as well as privacy risks, among others. We will examine social media platforms’ policy responses when it comes to these risks, as well as their effectiveness and various legislative strategies to ensure young people’s wellbeing on social media. Special attention will be paid to research on the mediation of social media use by parents, teachers and peers. We will identify research-based ways to help young people and communities at heightened risk (e.g. ethnic minorities, socially disadvantaged children and LGBTQ). At a theoretical and scholarly level, the goal of this module is to provide students with an understanding of key debates among scholars on the negative and positive influence of social media on children and young people. At a practical level, the goal is to prepare student teachers and others interested in the topic to be able to effectively recognize when a child or young person (in their classrooms) might have an issue that is playing out negatively on social media; and to provide adequate assistance to that child and adequate understanding as to how to engage with other stakeholders.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify a range of online safety risks associated with children’s social media use and their impact on children and young people’s wellbeing
2. Identify a range of positive outcomes associated with children and young people’s social media use
3. Examine key debates in academic research on the role of social media in the lives of children and young people
4. Identify the e-safety multi-stakeholder environment, relevant policy debates, and the role of the social media industry in ensuring children’s and young people’s wellbeing
5. Recognize when a child or young person is encountering a social media-related issue or problem
6. Synthesize the knowledge acquired in this course towards an applied project where they leverage social media to teach children/young people about online safety

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture2012 weeks (weekly online lecture videos and other instructional videos with illustrative case studies about various online safety and well-being related issues)
Independent Study60Assigned readings, videos, multiple choice tests
Seminars5Two face-to-face meetings (1st and 12th week); one two-hour session either online or face-to-face (and online for those who cannot attend in person) in the middle of the semester (module), after week 6, whose purpose it is to provide guidance and feedback to students on their plans for the applied project.
Assignment Completion40Applied project
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Description of weekly sessions
Session 1 Introduction to the module--social media landscape and the role of social media in the lives of young people The ever-changing social media landscape; risks and opportunities for benefits associated with social media use; Module requirements and explanation of assessment as it relates to learning outcomes. Introduction to the concept of digital wellbeing and defining the concept of digital wellbeing. Session 2 Major debates in academic research on social media and young people’s wellbeing in relation to digital technology The concepts of moral and media panics (as applied to smartphones and social media). Research evidence to support the case that use of digital technology and social media in particular are associated with negative outcomes. The importance of context in determining the outcomes. EU Kids Online and other analytic and theoretical frameworks on children’s digital media use and specifically social media use. Session 3 Specific online safety risks on social media and their impact on youth wellbeing: Grooming, child pornography and pornography Specific risks on social media: grooming, pornography and child pornography: prevalence and outcomes. High profile cases, prevention and intervention strategies. Session 4 Specific online safety risks on social media and their impact on youth wellbeing: Sexting Introduction to sexting, prevalence, risk factors and associated outcomes. How to approach sexting in your classroom; sexting, always harmful? Sexting and cyberbullying. Session 5 Specific online safety risks on social media and their impact on youth wellbeing: Cyberbullying Introduction to bullying and cyberbullying; types of cyberbullying, risk factors, prevalence, context, associated outcomes. How to recognize a child who might be experiencing cyberbullying on social media and how to address the issue. Session 6 Youth privacy on social media Defining privacy –personal, social and commercial data collection; understanding legislation around privacy (EU General Data Protection Regulation—GDPR as applied to children and social media in Article 8). Theoretical frameworks on privacy in data driven world, and debates around youth attitudes to privacy; how to teach young people about privacy. Session 7 Social media and Excessive Internet Use vs. Intense Internet Use Debate on smartphone, social media and online gaming addictions and research evidence. Understanding the difference behind Excessive Internet Use and Intense Internet Use and how to identify and assist a child in the classroom who might be having a problem. Session 8 Understanding the multi-stakeholder landscape The role of family, schools and teachers, state policies, industry and non-governmental organizations in enhancing children’s wellbeing in relation to social media use. Social media regulation and online intermediaries; and the policies of social media platforms aimed at ensuring young people’s wellbeing; Ensuring effectiveness and responsibility. Session 9 Mediation: teachers, parents/caregivers and peers Introduction to the process of mediation of digital and social media use; types of mediation (restrictive, enabling), evidence of effectiveness. Teacher mediation—what it means in practice, approaches and evidence of effectiveness. Session 10 Social media and broader culture: Hate speech, racism, sexism, algorithmic accountability Introduction to hate speech and the concept of algorithmic accountability on social media platforms. Use of artificial intelligence in addressing hate speech; Debates on technology as a cause or active contributor to apparently eroding civility; vs. technology as a symptom/reflection of broader social and cultural problems. Session 11 E-safety education: Raising digital citizens Introduction to the concept of digital citizenship and its relationship to e-safety and youth wellbeing. Leveraging social media for civic engagement and creative expression among youth. Critique of the concept of digital citizenship from the perspective of critical scholarship in education. Positive aspects of social media use. Session 12 Teaching e-safety on social media Results of evaluation of e-safety training curricula—why online safety education needs to resonate with children and youth. Strategies on how to effectively teach young people about safety on social media.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Milosevic, Tijana: 2018, Protecting Children Online? Cyberbullying Policies of Social Media Companies, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA,
  • danah boyd: 0, It's complicated: The social lives of networked teens, Yale University Press,
  • Livingstone, S., Haddon, L., & Gorzig, A: 2012, Children, Risk and Safety on the Internet: Research and Policy Challenges in Comparative Perspective, 11,12,13,14, 18,19,20,, Polity,
  • Vandebosch, H., & Green, L. (Eds.).: 0, Narratives in Research and Interventions on Cyberbullying Among Young People, Springer International Publishing.,
  • Brightwell, L.: 2019, Feminist Tinder: Young Women Talk Back to Harassment OnlineIn Gender Hate Online (pp. 233-251), Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.,
  • Sonia Livingstone and Julian Sefton Green: 2016, The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age, NYU Press,
  • Jacqueline Vickery: 2017, Worried about the wrong things: Youth, risk, and opportunity in the digital world., MIT Press,
  • Nathan Fisk: 2017, Framing internet safety: The governance of youth online, MIT Press,
  • Jean Twenge: 0, IGen: Why today's super-connected kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy--and completely unprepared for adulthood--and what that means for the rest of us., Simon and Schuster,
  • Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., Vanderhoven, E., Haers, J., & Segaert, B. (Eds.).: 0, Youth 2.0: Social Media and Adolescence, Springer,
Other Resources

46005, Chapter, James, C., 2014, Disconnected: Youth, New Media and the Ethics Gap., Cambridge, MA, MIT Press,
Programme or List of Programmes