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Social media must be taught in schools, says leading social media entrepreneur

social media on a phone

Ryan Williams, the co-founder and former co-owner of KOMI Group, a Manchester-based multimillion-pound social media and marketing agency, has today called for social media to be integrated into the national curriculum, to educate children about the wide career opportunities it can offer, as well as its dangers.

The news follows the launch of new recommendations from the American Psychological Association (APA) to train teenagers how to use social media safely. It is the very first time the APA has published this guide, highlighting the risks to young people and emphasising parents’ responsibility to monitor its use. But the onus must also be on schools to educate children.

Ryan Williams is one of the UK’s leading social media pioneers. He founded KOMI Group with two business associates and built the agency to capitalise on a gap in the market – the lack of social media knowledge and expertise in many businesses. He seeks to pull down the barriers holding back aspiring entrepreneurs, and believes social media is a valuable tool to this end.

Williams wants social media to be added to the national curriculum in the UK to break away from what he refers to as the ‘sticking plaster’ approach currently pursued by schools and teachers.

He argues social media is a great career-advancing tool for young people, and that it is our duty to help children take full advantage of the opportunities it creates, through reform of the curriculum. He adds that it is also vital children are properly educated about the dangers of social media, from bullying to misinformation, something he says is done in a ‘sticking plaster’ fashion. 

Having built a business based on social media, Williams understands the huge potential platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Snapchat hold for advancing people’s careers and life chances, and he believes the curriculum is currently failing young people by failing to teach this.

He is also aware, through his young children, of the dangers of social media platforms and wants to see a formulated and comprehensive approach to educating children about these dangers.

Ryan Williams said: “Social media plays an increasingly central role in people’s lives – young people most of all. What most people aren’t aware of it is that it is a fantastic tool for opening up career opportunities.

“I first got into the world of social media in its early days when Twitter was really blowing up, and I started making comedic, parody football accounts. It quickly became profitable and ended up spinning out into KOMI Group when I joined up with two business associates. Within the space of six years we built KOMI into a multimillion-pound agency employing over 80 people.

“The breadth of opportunities social media offers to young peopleis endless. There are many great career paths in social media, such as in the marketing space, and most large businesses nowadays have a social media manager. But people can also now monetise their hobbies on social media and many people companies are building companies that are entirely on social media, such as KOMI Group.

“Given the huge opportunities these platforms can create for young people, it seems crazy that there is no strategy for educating children about the wide benefits and uses of social media.

“It’s also vital that children are educated about the dangers of social media. It can be a huge source of anxiety and bullying. And it can be highly addictive and damage young people’s ability to concentrate properly on other things, such as their education and employment.

“Ideally, I’d like to see social media safety taught to primary school children as we’re seeing kids beginning to use these platforms at increasingly young ages. This can be expanded to address career and business opportunities as they move into secondary school.

“Currently, education around the dangers of social media is a complete patchwork. And there has been no concerted attempt to teach children about the huge potential social media can have for advancing their careers. This seems to me like a dereliction of duty from an education system which is struggling to keep up with the times. We need to see a comprehensive strategy for introducing social media into the curriculum, covering both the opportunities and the dangers.”

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Education, Employability, Skills and apprenticeships, Work and leadership

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