Facebook and similar social media websites have enhanced communication and media influences upon our young people. In my opinion, these social media websites are avenues young people use to express themselves freely without the barriers around social communication and intimacy is shielded by the computer. It is critical adults take the time to supervise and monitor their young persons Web use, but also feel open to discuss social media with their young people.
Purpose: encourage youth to talk about and express their identity using social media tool and art.
Materials: art paper, pens/pencil crayons/ markers
Target group: males/females, 12-19years old, group or individual
Time alotted: 45 minutes or 2 sessions depending upon youth
Activity: prepare art supplies for youth on table
Encourage youth to sit within groups
introduce the youth they are going to create a Facebook page about their life, their experiences and identity
Encourage them to divide the paper into distinct sections. The title is their alter ego name or nickname used to identify or disguise their identity.
One section is their interests, likes, favorite artists or band, etc as similar to the profile page on Facebook.
Another section is their background which highlights where they are from, which high school they attended, what neighborhood did they live in, what religion they ascribe to, their cultural heritage.
Another section is their relatives, their friend lists, their status, etc. This is the are which speaks to their social relationships and affiliation.
An important section is their wall, which includes notes they may say, notes from others who write on their wall, sayings and other pictures they borrowed from others and more. This speaks to their current life experiences and can encourage youth to reflect upon how they present themselves to others on social media sites.
It is very appropriate to add or delete sections which may be appropriate for the target group or individual. You can highlight areas you hope to support the youth in gaining insight but also expressing themselves.
In processing the activity, develop two or three key areas you want to focus upon. Encourage youth to reflect upon areas included in this activity. For example, you can focus upon the identity section and encourage youth to describe their process in this section. Ask the youth to discuss how their identity may influence their beliefs and behaviors. Ask the youth about their values and how their identity is impacted by such values. You can also encourage the young person to analyse if others recognise their personality from how they present themselves. This question opens up critical thinking about self and encourages them to take perspective of others.
Overall, this activity can be a starting point to discuss many topics relevant to youth and is a creative way to encourage them to express themselves using art.