At Swanwick Hall School, we believe that mobile devices can be an aid to safety on the journey to and from school and so, whilst we have a complete ban on their use during the school day, we are happy to accept that they are in bags and turned off during the day.
Electronic devices can be a significant distraction in society and they can inhibit the generation of strong social relationships where people just come together to talk. We do not allow any device other than a mobile phone or any specific device linked to a learning need on site at all, including smart watches. Where any device is brought on site, it is done so with full responsibility of the owner.
In terms of wider safety, we would issue some simple advice, advice that we replicate in school through assemblies, PSHE and the like.
- Family time is important, as are family rules. Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock and charge all household devices outside of bedrooms. A remarkable number of teenagers will talk to people across the world on online platforms well into the early hours, and the impact of that can clearly be felt in their work and attention span in the day that follows
- Talk to your children regularly about who they are speaking to and how they know them. The concept of a friend has become blurred online, and all so-called ‘friends’, particularly if they have never been met, should be viewed with a healthy caution
- All social media sites have minimum age restrictions for good reason. Don’t allow your child on to those sites early. Children should remain children and develop their social skills in person significantly before their online skills. This will help them to behave more sensibly online when you do allow that access.
- Most social media sites also allow parental controls and monitoring – take advantage of that
- Children will always tell you that ‘everyone else has XXXX app so why can’t i?’ It may feel that way to them, but hold firm. If you aren’t sure about it, you almost certainly won’t be alone!
- If there are issues online, report them to the site immediately, tell the pastoral manager in school so we can ensure that all parents are working together to combat any issues, and consider using websites such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP), both of which have lots of useful advice (links below)
- Of course, should any bullying or other school linked behaviours occur online, we will use the full extent of our behaviour policy to ensure that we do all we can to protect the young people we have in school alongside families.
We are all children and families for the first time once; navigating an online world can be scary, but can also be really rewarding. It wouldn’t be appropriate in a modern era to close down access to a wider world through online platforms, but sensible, moderated access for children can reap lots of reward. If you have any further questions at all, please get in touch with the safeguarding staff, all listed on our safeguarding page.
To support families to deal with the issues surrounding e-safety, the internet and social media, we would like to highlight the following sites: