Beneath the Screen


February 5, 2018 00:00

Do you remember your first experience of social media? Your answer will probably depend on your age. If I tell you I started using Yahoo Messenger in an internet café which charged ten pounds an hour to experience the wonders of the world wide web, you’ll know I’m not in the first flush of youth. The opportunity to share your interests with complete strangers from anywhere in the world was liberating, and as social media platforms became more sophisticated things became even more exciting. But then we started to see the possible downside: it was possible to get yourself into trouble online. If you’ve still got an old Bebo or MySpace page lurking in some long-forgotten corner of the web you’ll know what I mean. Still, embarrassment seemed the worst that could happen, and it was worth the risk, so we plunged in.


 A ten-year-old child won’t remember their social debut however; it probably happened before they were born. Their lives have been documented and shared, from baby bump to first step to starting school and the whole thing feels like second nature to them. So, it’s difficult to get across to them that, though sharing is generally something to be encouraged, there are lots of things we should keep to ourselves. This is somewhere adults really need to set an example; parents more so than teachers. Can you really tell your daughter to be careful when posting pictures of her birthday online if your Facebook page has an ultrasound scan of her in your womb? Yes, you can. You can show her that you have privacy settings on your page, that your personal information cannot be accessed by just anyone, and that you think about your personal security before you post. You can tell her that the “About Me” section is a place where you can tell people that you love cats, not a place to give out your address and phone number to the world. But perhaps most importantly, you can show her anything you intend to post about her, and ask if she’s happy for others to see it. The key to all this is communication and respect. Make sure children know you value and respect their privacy, then they’re more likely to feel the same way.

Darren Ruddell and Seamus Hilley

Beneath the Screen

Before they became a writing team, Darren Ruddell and Seamus Hilley individually won the prestigious Laughing Horse stand-up comedy (Darren), and The Channel Four sitcom competition (Seamus). Since joining forces they have had a short film produced by Channel Four and had a number of scripts optioned by Talkback and CPL Productions. Their innovative work for Serious Comedy has brought them commissions from numerous organisations, everyone from Lewisham Council to Virgin Media and school children all over the country have grown to love their funny, irreverent take on topics ranging from scooter safety to ecological education. They are based in London.