How social media is doing its bit to help refugees

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The other week, I wrote that Lancashire’s Police Commissioner is funding workshops for parents and carers in the Lancaster district to enable us to support our young people around their use of social media.

Well, lo and behold, the day that was published a 14-year-old boy from the north of England hit the news by being put on the police database for ‘sexting’, sending a picture of himself naked to a female friend, which then got shared around school.

Jane Binnion

Jane Binnion

This is exactly what we have to be talking to our young people about as mostly they are ‘just messing’ and don’t understand the long-term consequences of their actions. While I personally would not welcome naked images of my friends, male or female, popping up on my phone, this young man was vulnerable and on top of being teased and humiliated at school this will now be hanging over him when he applies for jobs.

We are in new territory but this is not the creation of young people so it is our job to educate ourselves so we can guide them.

The recent news of the plight of the refugees has been very challenging to many of us and the quiet kindness of the lovely couple in my street who bring us home grown cucumbers and tomatoes got me thinking of our inherent generosity.

I grew up in a culture that was generous, even when you had next to nothing you still gave to those worse off than you. If we only watch the news it would be easy to think the English are a heartless nation. But the news is about attracting viewers. Here, in real life, I am glad to say there’s still lots of compassion for those near and far.

Recently I was invited to join two Facebook groups, one for the People’s Cafe which was organising a Pay As You Feel event t the Friends Meeting House, Lancaster, where people could get good home made food cooked and donated by local people. The other for a woman driving a large van to Calais this month to take supplies to the refugees. If you have winter clothes, toiletries or tinned food you can donate then please email

For me this is where Facebook is at its best. It can be all too easy to feel helpless and hopeless, but social media enables us to connect with like minded people, get involved and make a difference. Have a great week and stay safe online.