Activity & Discussion: FW:

Credits Daniel O'Clunaigh, Ali Ravi, and Samir Nassar Last Updated 2014-03

This activity will help illustrate which kinds of information participants may not want to share on social media, and their inability to control information once it's been posted and reused by someone else. Shared information might be altered by others in uncontrollable ways, and that those who receive the information you share may be untrustworthy.

ADIDS Element

Activity and Discussion

Parent Topic(s)

Social Media Safety


20-30 minutes

Materials to Prepare

  • Index cards and pens

Running the Activity

Step 1: Sending a (Private?) Message

Select one volunteer from the group, who should then come up with a unique message that is funny or outrageous. Ask them to write the message on one side of three cards, leaving the other side of the cards blank - for now, they should not share this message or the index cards.

  • Ask them to also think of three participants that they want to message to go to.
  • One the volunteer has finished their index cards, they will pass them next to the trainer.
  • The volunteer will also tell the trainer the names of the three recipient participants, without sharing them with the entire group.
Trainer’s Note

As there could be a substantial lag while the selected participant, who creates a unique message, writes the message out onto their index cards and addresses it to three people, you can ask them to write it out and give the trainer the names of three recipients before the session starts.

Step 2: Sharing on “Facebook”

The Trainer will secretly write “share this with one other person nearby after reading” on one of the cards, or they can tell one of the participants secretly when they hand them the card.

  • The trainer explains to the group that they are representing Facebook, and will deliver the messages to the three people chosen by the author.
  • The trainer delivers 3 cards to the three participants, who will read the messages (not aloud).
  • One of the participants will then share their message with a neighbor.

Step 3: What Did It Say?

After the messages have been delivered and read, the trainer asks:

“Who knows what the message said?”

Four trainees will raise their hand. Use this moment to lead into the Discussion below.

Leading the Discussion

When the initial volunteer participant is (hopefully!) surprised, the trainer will ask who the messages were originally meant to go to.

Ask the fourth recipient to explain how they got the message.

You can ask the following questions of the trainees:

  • What kind of control do you have when you share information online?
  • Do privacy settings help? In which ways can they help? In which ways can they not help?
  • Has anyone ever posted or shared something online that they didn’t mean to share?
  • If so, how did they deal with it?