Having previously reported that Friary students took 1st and 2nd place in the Lichfield Live Young Journalised Articles we wanted to share the articles which won the plaudits.

The articles were also published on Lichfield Live and can be viewed here.

1st Place – Grace Williams (Y13)

Do you see social media as a force for good in learning more about your local area or are there other ways to gather information locally ?

“In a world that is social media orientated nowadays, it only seems fit to use it to our advantage as a way to share information on the community and current events, etc.
Perhaps my family stand alone on the matter but other forms of gathering information such as leaflets through the door find themselves in the bin without even a glance at the information it could provide us with. Social media can present people with the same information seen on the leaflet, but we get to feel as if it is our own choice to take an interest in it.

You could call me biased since I have grown up in a world where 80% of information given to me – whether that be in school or by my own accord – has come from the internet or social media, however why should that be perceived as something negative?
When used correctly, social media is perfect for promoting events taking place in the local area, or to share a message; people have the opportunity to like and share with friends which allows the information to reach many people. Of course, if people see posters around Lichfield and are interested, they still might mention it to a friend or two, but social media allows us to do this in a matter of seconds, whilst reaching between 20-100 extra people.
As well as sharing, members of the community can give their opinions on certain matters, by commenting on the post as they share it. Sometimes, seeing someone else’s opinion on a piece of information can help you to form your own, which creates more interest in a subject.

It would be naïve of me to think, however, that all comments upon posts relating to information of the community would be positive; this is one of the downfalls we face with social media. There will always be someone who will have a negative opinion to share on social media, but it shouldn’t encourage us to shy away from using it; there are ways negative comments can be dealt with which allow us to carry on promoting information within the community.

After some independent research, I found that the Lichfield District Council already has some social media pages set up, as well as other support groups set up by members of the community. Whilst I think it’s great to see social media being put to good use within Lichfield, as a young person I noticed that the sites on which these pages were found were prominently used by adults. If we want to get young people more involved in the community, we should be using social media in the way they do.

As a young person myself, Facebook is a site I use to see what my Nan is up to and make sure my mum hasn’t posted any embarrassing pictures of me. It is Instagram and Snapchat which I use to communicate with friends but also take interest in certain groups and learn about the world around me. I’m sure many young people would take much more of an interest in the local community if the information was presented to them in a way that interests them but also through a social media site they actually use. As avid social media users, the community could perhaps include us through having us help with the promotion of information on social media or setting up accounts on sites that will reach this demographic.

So yes, I see social media as a force for good in learning more about my local community, and I believe there are still ways in which it can be used to reach more members of the community and create interest.”

Matt Allman, Headteacher, said: “Grace is our Head Girl so we well know how impressive she is, and we were delighted to hear that she had won this competition. We hold a national award for our online safety curriculum so it is a topic we address regularly in school. Grace’s article shows understanding, balance and personality – traits she shows every single day. We are very proud of her and are fortunate to have her in our school.”