Urgent Social Media Notice – Parental moral and legal responsibilities.
It has come to light that a minority of children at the school are accessing WhatsApp to message each other and creating private chat groups. Concerns have been raised about the nature of comments posted, some of which are believed to be derogatory, inappropriate or slanderous. As the Designated Safeguarding Lead at the school, I am uncompromising in my duty of care and application of policy regarding any area of risk; this includes access to social media.
Moral duty to safeguard: I remind parents, as I often have, of the dangers of social media exchanges and the dangerous impact they can have on others. We only need to read the cases of those similar to Molly Russel, who tragically took her own life after having unsupervised access to social media posts and communication, to understand the importance of monitoring and controlling social media access.
Legal position: WhatsApp and similar platforms are not age appropriate for primary school children and if used this is a breach of the terms and conditions; as a parent you may be deemed as acting neglectfully in law.
THE AGE RESTRICTIONS ARE THERE TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD
I remain perplexed at the blasé approach a minority of parents have when it comes to uncontrolled and unmonitored access to social media. A prime platform for this is WhatsApp, closely followed by SnapChat.
It cannot be emphasised enough that if parents are of the view ‘my child wouldn’t do that’, or ‘it is unfair on them not to use it as their friends do’, then you are wilfully placing your child at risk, and by knowingly allowing access to non-age appropriate online platforms, acting neglectfully in the eyes of the law.