RAPS Urges Parents to Keep Children Safe Online
Ramsgate Arts Primary School is urging parents not to let their young children have access to social media.
As part of the school’s ongoing e-safety campaign, Head of School Nick Budge has written to families appealing to them to support the school’s stance on unrestricted use and to make sure that children do not go online to any site that is not age appropriate.
It follows a survey among Year 6 pupils about their social media habits which revealed some worrying answers.
Mr Budge said: “In today’s modern world the use of social media is somewhat inevitable for young people as they grow into teenagers. There are benefits to using social media, such as communication with distant relatives or friends.
“However, we remind parents and carers that social media is not advised for children below age 13, and age restrictions apply to social media accounts for good reason.
“The use of social media by under age children is increasingly a nationwide issue, with many children being exposed to risks such as contact with strangers, significant emotional risk, social conflict, hacking of personal information and data and exposure to inappropriate content.
“At Ramsgate Arts Primary School, we want to ensure that pupils understand, value and utilise online safety strategies to help keep them safe.”
This includes teaching pupils how to use the internet safely; advising pupils against using social media or online games that are above their age range; special assemblies or talks, particularly around the national ‘Safer Internet Day’; teaching pupils how to act respectfully online towards others, discussing issues around cyber-bullying.
Mrs Beech the school Deputy Headteacher completed a short survey with pupils from Year 6, asking these two simple questions - which social media do you use and what is your experience of using social media?
The replies showed that a number of pupils use a range of sites including Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and TikTok, many of which have a minimum legal age of 13 years old.
When asked about their experience of social media, the Year 6 children said:
“Sometimes on Instagram I get random follow requests,”
“On YouTube, adverts can pop up and they’re inappropriate,”
“On WhatsApp you get viruses and messages that are unknown,”
“On TikTok you get a lot of hate comments,”
“On TikToK there is swearing all the time,”
“Actually on most things there’s bad swearing,”
“Your Snapchat account can get hacked and takes photos on your account and sends them to other people,”
“On WhatsApp, people can randomly get my phone number through groups, so you get random messages,”
“On Lyke, people commented rude things on my profile and videos. Things I didn’t really understand,”
“On TikTok there is a large number of older people who join your songs and do duets but just swear. Any stranger can join your duet video,”
“On Instagram you can do live videos and people see them,”
“On Snapchat I get photos from people I don’t know, just random creepy pictures from people I don’t know.”
Mrs Beech said: “Our children’s safety is paramount. The responses were honest and gave us a focussed snapshot on what some of them are exposed to online.
“With this in mind, we ask all parents to reflect on the access their children have to social media and consider carefully monitoring the use of mobile phones, tablets and computers.
If you would like further information about keeping children safe online please visit www.internetmatters.org.
Ramsgate Arts Primary School is part of the Viking Academy Trust with Upton Junior School at Broadstairs and Chilton Primary School, Ramsgate.
To book a tour of RAPS and see the arts learning in action, contact Head of School Nick Budge on 01843 582847.