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Social Media and IT Use

Social Media now plays a significant role in society and consequently in our school community. The Sele School is mindful of the fact that, although when used positively Social Media can present opportunities for friendship and self-expression, there can also be harmful or worrying aspects to usage. 

We know that most of our students are safely and responsibly engaged in Social Media and we spend time at school reinforcing how to stay safe and prevent misuse. The key to safe use of social media sites lies in the appropriate and respectful way that students use them. 

As a school we are growing increasingly concerned about several matters that pose a threat to young people. We wish to make sure that parents/carers are aware of possible concerns and are able to support the school in managing such issues.

Points to be aware of, including some possible concerns, include:

  • The unsafe disclosure of personal information/pictures in which students can provide potentially damaging personal information without fully understanding that what is posted on Social Media is public, potentially permanent and accessible to many more users than may be intended.
  • Students are frequently reminded about the dangers of posting comments/photographs that may be copied by ‘screenshot’ and used in ways other than intended.  Our students sign and discuss with you, as parents, the Safe User Agreement for the Internet.  This is revisited every year and would be an ideal opportunity to discuss staying safe online with your son/daughter.
  • Addiction, whereby students may spend excessive amounts of time on line, to the detriment of that student’s education, well-being and health.
  • Within the school, we do not allow students to use phones. Downtime from access to the internet and use of devices is considered to be important to ensure that students do not become consumed by the need to be on line. 
  • Our new Internet Provider has a robust filter system which restricts access to some sites that may have previously been available.  Students may use their data more quickly if they are accessing such sites; we advise parents to monitor their child’s usage.
  • Risky sexual behaviour, whereby the pupil is exposed to predatory influences and post sexually suggestive material or make connections with others who may not be who they seem. We specifically cover this matter in lessons/assemblies to ensure our students stay safe.  We advise parents to check who their child is in communication with on a regular basis.  We work to the general rule of 'only communicate with those you know in real life'.
  • Cyber bullying, which is defined as the use of communications technology to deliberately upset someone else by sending or posting harmful, sometimes malicious material online
  • Our Code of Conduct reinforces our expectations that our students are respectful to all members of the school community in all communications and that any post would follow our school rule to “be kind”. Any post that doesn’t meet these standards should not be made - posting threatening or offensive comments online can potentially be considered a criminal offence.

As a school it is our policy not to get involved in any Social Media incident that has happened outside of school; that is clearly a parental responsibility. We have no jurisdiction to deal with such incidents and cannot investigate in this circumstance. 

Inevitably we may need to deal with the consequences of children’s use of such media at school.  The upset and distress caused by the misuse of such media can cause students long term harm.

Parents/carers have a responsibility to ensure that students are using any online device appropriately; staff at school are working hard to support parents.  Many issues linked to Social Media happen beyond the school day but can have a major impact upon the happiness and progress of students.

It is appreciated that there is no easy solution for these issues; students may be able to access social media through a number of devices and it can becomes difficult for parents/carers to monitor.

At The Sele School we will continue to:

  • Educate students about the dangers of inappropriate use of the internet
  • Monitor ICT on our systems at school
  • Refer anything that could lead to Child Protection to external agencies
  • Support parents with advice on how to tackle inappropriate use of social media.

Advice from the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) website is included below to help guide you in actions to take, if necessary. Details of other highly recommended websites that you may find helpful are also included.

If you have any concerns or require any further information please contact your child’s Key Stage Manager and we will happily advise further.

 

Help Sheet

Internet access at school is restricted and certain sites are blocked however, most internet use is by students at home.  Consequently, we have summarised advice for parents/carers to ensure that every child can be safe.  This advice follows guidance from CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre). We take the security of your children, our students, extremely seriously; it is important that we work together to ensure this. 

  • Have a conversation with your child regularly about appropriate use.
  • Consider not allowing your child to access certain sites and set clear boundaries about usage of particular websites.  Most sites stipulate users should be 13 years old as a minimum.
  • Show your child how to adjust privacy settings so that posts are only seen by those intended. If you are not sure how to do this, Ms Dillon, Head of IT, can guide you.
  • Supervise your child’s activity on social network sites. As a minimum you should know username/passwords for sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Ask.FM and sit down with him/her to monitor what is happening online from time to time.
  • Emphasise the importance of thinking before posting messages which can be misunderstood online and should not jeopardise safety. Nothing posted can ever be deleted – and should be regarded as permanent.  Recent studies show that one in four UK employers visit social media sites to research potential employees.
  • If your child experiences or witnesses online bullying, tell him/her not to respond. The best option is to take a printout or screen shot of the offending post and then delete the ‘app’ and account.
  • Report incidents of online bullying. We may not be able to confirm the identity of offensive comments posted but the Police are able to do so and we will act on any confirmation they give us about our pupils in terms of sanctions.
  • We will be running a Parent Information evening this academic year on the subject of E-Safety to help equip parents/carers to deal with these matters.

Further advice about what to do in case of abuse can be found here:

http://ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/parents

Other guides can be found at:

http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/secondary

http://saferinternet.org.uk/about/helpline

www.childnet.com/youngpeople

 

 Below you will find