A SENIOR academic at the University of Bolton has called for lessons in social media etiquette to be part of the school curriculum.

Dr Rachel McLean, from the Faculty of Art and Media Technologies, said young people do not always understand the consequences of their actions when using websites such as Facebook.

Her calls comes as a 14-yearold boy, who posted a mock-up picture of Bolton Wanderers striker Marvin Sordell with a gun pointed at him on Facebook, wrote a letter of apology to the Whites ace.

The fake photograph, which also shows Sordell with blood on his face and shirt, was posted on his Facebook page.

The teenage Millwall fan has now sent Sordell a letter apologising for his actions — and his parents who are shocked by what their son had done, saying he is “really sorry” for his actions and that he thought it was just a prank Dr McLean said: “People, particularly young people, don’t always realise the reach and consequences of their interactions through social media. There is a sense of depersonalisation as the usual social cues of face-to-face communication and peer regulation are removed.

“It is important we educate young people not only about the impact their posts can have on others, but also of potential consequences for their own futures. Employers frequently check social media profiles of applicants, and we are starting to see more and more prosecutions as a result of offensive behaviour on social media sites. Social media etiquette should be embedded within the school curriculum.”

The teenage boy’s dad had previously told The Bolton News that his son “didn’t realise the consequences of”

what he did but is “realising them now”.

Earlier this year student Liam Stacey was jailed for inciting racial hatred after he made comments about Fabrice Muamba as he lay collapsed on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur.

Another man was given a police caution for posting abusive comments about Bolton referee Mark Halsey’s battle against cancer on Twitter.