The course was announced this week by exam board OCR which said: ‘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 (6 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.’

Victoria Hunter, subject team manager at OCR, added: ‘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.’

‘Contrary to some outdated misconceptions, sociology is not a soft option – it is rooted in social science theory, demands academic rigour and equips students with the critical reasoning and data analysis skills to understand the complex dynamics that shape societies.

‘The course will be an excellent foundation for university and pave the way to a wide range of careers, from business management to public policy.’

Judith Mudd, chief executive of the British Sociological Association, said: ‘In today’s online world, social groups across the globe are connecting and colliding in ways that could not have been imagined before.

‘We owe it to our students and society to reflect these fundamental changes in the way social groups interact in our courses, not just to make sociology real for students, but also to foster scientific analysis of the social impacts of new technologies, to help steer further developments in ways that will better, rather than break societies.’