If your child is in Year 6 you will recall at the beginning of the year, during the first unit of inquiry on digital citizenship, that the school shared clear views around children accessing social media sites such as instagram and Whatsapp. Our view was and still is that children should not have access and if they do, they need to be closely supervised by an adult.
You may also remember, if you attended any of our Digital Citizenship workshops, that I shared stories about children, from Peak School, being suspended from school in previous years for their inappropriate actions on social media and that I would not hesitate to do this again should it impact on us as a school.
I am very pleased to report that we have not had to get involved this year in any social media issues between our children. We did however want to send a timely reminder to ensure you are fully aware of what access, if any, your child has to social media so you are confident your child is safe and making appropriate decisions online.
In our experience Term 2 and 3 are the terms that the children start to really explore social media sites and start to test just how well supervised their actions will be at home.
Our concern is that we are starting to see evidence of our children accessing social media, with what would appear to be very little supervision from home. This is frustrating for us as we know you care deeply for your child but this is an area where children of this age still need your close support/supervision.
We have been shocked to learn from a recent survey of our Year 4-6 children just how many have access to Instagram, Whatsapp and other forms of social media.
We are starting to see/hear reports of Year 5-6 children on Instagram and our real concern is that in one case a quarter of followers, for one of our girls, were adult men whom she did not know. This is not uncommon and we see this every year. Our frustration is that it would appear our message is not getting through to our parent body in regards to how imperative is is to support/supervise their child/ren online assuming you have made the choice to give them access.
If you have made the decision to allow your child to have access to certain social media sites, please provide the necessary support and supervision so that you are confident that your child is safe and making appropriate decisions around what to post. Without this support, it has been our experience that children of this age simply do not have the maturity or awareness to use the sites appropriately and safely.
Ultimately it is your decision what access, if any, your child has to their own device and social media sites. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s online activity or how you can best support them, please do not hesitate to contact us for support.