Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command.
MOBILE PHONES, IPADS, TABLETS & ALL THINGS SOCIAL MEDIA
We have experienced a string of incidents over the last term regarding use of mobile technology with all of it occurring outside of school hours. When children come into school upset or concerned about messages, photos, group chats or games that have been sent to them, or the way a game is being played on line between ‘friends’, it does make it incredibly difficult to deal with the problem for the child or children because the activity has taken place outside of school time, however, it is having an impact on children’s school day and their learning and therefore the school has a duty of care.
The only advice we can give parents is that
- You regularly check your child’s technology and engage with them in conversation about who they are contacting, playing with, messaging etc.
- You ensure your child is only using apps/games appropriate to their age. There are guidelines please read up and check.
- Parental controls are switched ‘on’ on their phones.
- Check how your children are using photos. Check that they realise what happens if they put a photo up for a ‘friend’ to see. Ensure they understand not to distribute even in ‘jest’ photos of other friends/people they know.
- Remind children that once a comment, photo, message has been sent it cannot be ‘unsent’. They can be screen shot by someone else, if the police get involved then even ‘deleted’ data can be retrieved.
- If you are concerned about how your child and a friend/group of friends are communicating or an incident has happened in real time/place due to social media etc and your child is feeling threatened/afraid/scared/ by what is being sent/posted then you as the parent need to take action by either talking to the parent of the other child/children concerned or with serious incidences contact the police. We can reassure children in school and talk to them about the situation but we are not in a position to deal with the incident directly.
Giving a child a mobile device and connecting them with the internet is like inviting an entire world of strangers into your child’s life please ensure that as a parent you are guiding, giving boundaries and supporting just as you would if they were down the park, walking to a friend’s house or popping to the shops for you.