Social Media issues can be one of the biggest challenges for parents, carers and schools to manage, as monitoring children’s internet and mobile device usage (when the content of apps changes to quickly) can be a huge challenge in busy lives. Like many schools recently, following the return to some form of normality after the stresses of the pandemic for everyone, we are seeing a growing number of issues spilling into school caused by the use of Social Media apps outside of school such as TikTok, WhatsApp and SnapChat. We spend a significant amount of time in school teaching children how to use the internet safely and appropriately and, when asked in school, they know how to keep themselves safe.
However, often when on Social Media apps outside of school, children will get caught up in the moment, forget that the words they are using (which they would rarely use to anyone’s face) are unkind and inappropriate because they are on the other end of a screen, and this will then cause hurt to other children who would normally be their friends. On the other side of this, children may receive unkind words from other children who they thought were their friends and this has an impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
When there has been an issue outside of school, and we talk to children the following day about it (usually because one child has been sensible and shared it with us or because a concern has been raised by a parent or carer), the Social Media apps that are regularly mentioned are TikTok, WhatsApp and SnapChat. Guides to help parents and carers with understanding how each of these apps work and the potential risks for children can be found on our Safeguarding page (https://www.fordleyschool.com/safeguarding/).
This YouTube video ‘Understanding a Child’s Digital World’, from Prevent, may also be useful for you as adults to watch at home. I can only apologise for the length, but we have found it useful in school to watch as part of our safeguarding training so that we can stay up to date with anything out there that could put our children at risk (a link has been shared on Seesaw and on the ‘Latest News’ section of our website). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mda4R8Kg7Ww
If there is anything else you feel would help you as families with understanding and managing social media, please let us know and we will help in any way we can including seeking expertise where it is needed. We truly are in this together and we all want to keep our lovely children safe, whilst helping them to make safe choices for themselves online as they get older and become more and more independent.
Please get in touch if you have any questions around this, or if you would like to have a separate conversation about any situation which may be worrying you right now.