Over the last few years, an increasing number of internet apps and games have been introduced to our children. Many are safe and offer great learning opportunities but unfortunately a number of them are not age appropriate and can lead to misuse and concerns. We regularly have had to spend time dealing with issues regarding content sent outside of school hours which causes concerns about children’s mental and emotional well-being.
Therefore, we strongly recommend that all parents/carers check and monitor carefully how your child is using Apps, perhaps even deleting them until they reach a maturity level where they can use them properly. Websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Skype, WhatsApp, Snap chat and Tik Tok, to name but a few, offer fantastic opportunities for communication and social connections, however they are created with their audience in mind especially sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok which are specifically for those over 13 years old.
Primarily, these occurrences and reported incidents of misuse of social media sites happen at home, after school hours. With this in mind, and in response to concerned parents who have asked for advice regarding internet safety, we feel it important to point out to parents the risks of unregulated use of such sites and mobile phones, so you can make informed decisions as to whether to allow your child to have a profile or not and when and how to monitor their use, particularly at night time. We strongly advise a device free bedroom policy after bedtime to allow for uninterrupted sleep and rest as well as to help keep children safe.
When monitoring your child’s internet use, please remind yourself of the concerns of social media which you will have noted when you signed our Acceptable Use/Online Agreement. You should be therefore be reminded that:
- Many sites use ‘targeted’ advertising and therefore your child could be exposed to adverts of an inappropriate nature, depending on the age they stated when they registered.
- Young people may accept friend requests from people they don’t know in real life. This could increase the risk of inappropriate contact or behaviour. The general rule is, if they are not friends in real life, they shouldn’t be ‘friends’ online.
- Language, games, groups and content posted or shared on social media is NOT moderated, and therefore can be offensive, illegal or unsuitable for young people.
- Photographs shared by users are NOT moderated and therefore young people could be exposed to inappropriate images or even post their own. These photographs can also be edited once posted and by anyone.
- Underage users might be less likely to keep their identities private and lying about their age can expose them to further risks regarding privacy settings and options.
- Social media sites can be exploited by bullies and for inappropriate contact.
We have put together a range of links and resources below that might help parents and carers navigate the ever changing online environment.
If you have a specific concern regarding online safety, please speak to your child's class teacher in the first instance. Alternatively, you can contact Mr Lloyd or Mrs Howe in the school office