Dear Parents / Carers
Following some concerns that have been raised about whether all students understand how to safely use their phones and social media we have put a programme in place to develop students understanding of how to use these in a positive way. This has been delivered through tutor time and personal development sessions with all students this week.
Mobile Phones must not be used on site. Whilst we are aware you may choose to provide your child with a mobile phone for communication purposes and for their safety, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that this is stored safely away during the school day and only used before or after they are on the school site. Mobile phones will be confiscated if they are seen on the school site by staff, this includes, if parents are calling the phone at the end of the day. All confiscated phones will be checked for safeguarding purposes, and then stored in a locked area. These will only be returned to a parent or carer at Reception on the first Thursday afternoon following confiscation. In the case of repeat instances, parents will be contacted and asked that the phone is not brought into school in future.
All schools have the power to search mobile phones that we confiscate. They may also delete data or files if they think there is a good reason to do so, unless they are going to give the device to the police, there is no need to have parental consent to search through a young person’s mobile phone if it has been seized in a lawful ‘without consent’ search and is prohibited by the school rules or is reasonably suspected of being, or being likely to be, used to commit an offence or cause personal injury or damage to property.
Social Media. A survey for CBBC, of 1,200 people aged between 10 and 18, found that 96 per cent were signed up to social media networks. The NSPCC found that 1,380 children – out of nearly 1,700 it surveyed – thought social media sites needed to do more to protect them and they reported seeing pornography, self-harm, bullying and hatred.
All social media has a minimum age to join, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are 13, Facebook and WhatsApp are 16 and YouTube is 18. These age restrictions are there to protect children, and even after the allowed joining age parents need to ensure that social media is monitored and that children are aware of the content they are consuming and how they are using it.
Students must understand that anything that is placed on social media is no longer in their control, this includes photographs, thoughts and opinions and any malicious communications they can be prosecuted for.
Malicious Communications is where someone sends a form of communication that is indecent or grossly offensive, threatening, or contains information which is false or believed to be false. The purpose for sending it is to cause distress or anxiety to the person it is sent to.
An offence of Malicious Communications occurs as soon as the communication is sent, and does not have to be received by the intended person. It is the sending and intent of the offender which counts as an offence.
Sharing Passwords. Whilst we would actively encourage you to ensure that you know your children’s passwords to monitor any social media accounts or to be able to access their phones, you must ensure that they know they should not share passwords with friends or give them access to their accounts. Teaching them about keeping their personal data confidential will not only prepare them for adulthood but also ensure that should someone access their account and send malicious communication, they would also be held accountable for the offence.
Please support us by discussing safe phone use with your children, there is some useful information here to help you to do this and for you to research the apps your children are using www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/
Mr A Bate