Urgent Social Media Notice – Parental moral and legal responsibilities.
- Children using mainstream social media platforms are not permitted to do so under the terms and conditions of the provider.
- Parents choosing to allow access to social media platforms are choosing to be responisble for the risks they pose.
- The school cannot and will not intervene on behalf of parents allowing children to access social media sites against this advice and terms and conditions of prioviders
- Permitting children to access social media sites in breach of terms of conditions may be considered an act of neglect by the parent.
It has come to light again that a minority of children at the school are accessing WhatsApp/SnapChat and similar to message each other and creating private chat groups. Concerns have been raised about the nature of some comments posted, a minority 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.
Whilst we seek to educate and support pupils regarding the modern online world, parents have the ultimate responsibility to monitor and control access - school cannot do this in your home or outside of school. Likewise, parents can legally be held accountable for their child’s actions and a parent’s failure to safeguard is considered an act of neglect.
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 sometimes 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.
The school has a catalogue of support materials for parents and links to advice and guidance on the school website: Visit www.ashgate.derby.sch.uk. Click the Parent Link and Useful Links and Information or: