23/07/2014 06:10 BST | Updated 23/07/2014 06:59 BST

Sociology Students To Study Selfies For A-Level

ROBERTO SCHMIDT via Getty Images
-- AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2013 --US President Barack Obama (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a selfie picture with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt (C) next to US First Lady Michelle Obama (R) during the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013. Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the

Back in April, we revealed a university would be launching a degree course on selfies. As many of you suspected, this was indeed an April Fool's.

However an exam board has announced teens will be studying selfies as part of their sociology A-level course - and this time, it's for real.

Sixth-formers taking A-level sociology are set to study topics such as social media, the culture of "selfies", online safety and privacy.

Students could study the implications of that selfie

The topics are part of a new course drawn up by OCR, one of England's biggest exam boards, which said that the subject should not be seen as a "soft option".

It said that the qualification will include looking at "evidence-based research on globalisation", such as studies on why many young people claim they could not live without the internet and how men and women behave differently online.

"With more than 1.3 billion people on Facebook, over a million selfies posted each day and more people worldwide having access to a mobile phone (six billion) than to a working toilet (4.5 billion), students will analyse how societies manage the positive and negative impacts of, for example, freedom of information, privacy, online safety, equality of access to technology and gender stereotyping," OCR said.

The new A-level, which has been approved by England's exams regulator Ofqual for teaching from September 2015, is split into three parts.

The first looks at core sociological themes such as socialisation, culture, identity and power, the second looks at research methods, including data analysis taking into account inequality, class, gender, ethnicity and age, and the third focuses on "globalisation", allowing students to explore different methods of social enquiry and develop their understanding of social processes, change and policy.

Victoria Hunter, OCR subject team manager, said: "We have brought our syllabus bang up to date with exciting new content that tackles some of the biggest issues facing societies today.

"Globalisation and digital communication are transforming work, family and leisure life. No sociology A-level would be complete without making it compulsory to study how people are responding to the new rules of the digital global village.

"Students will apply sociological theories and methods to explore weighty questions around online censorship; how to police the rising tide of global organised crime; if the selfie culture encourages sexualisation of young girls; whether social networks unite or isolate people; and the role of digital networks in creating virtual communities."

Just over 30,000 candidates take A-level sociology, OCR said, and just over 50,000 take an AS-level in the subject.

Each year, around 7,000 people graduate from university with a sociology degree.

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