It has come to my attention that some of our children are part of a 'WhatsApp' group with other pupils in school. Whilst I am a huge fan of using technology to aid and assist learning/life in general, I am very dubious about the benefits of such groups and I am worried about its potential negative effects, alongside the law in relation to this matter.
I appreciate that my advice in this matter can be thought of as interference. However, it is not constructed in that way, and based on previous cases that I have seen the consequences of such a social media group can lead to:
- Huge friendship issues and fall outs between children
- Unwanted sharing of information leading to challenging, different and unnecessary behaviours/issues
- Lack of sleep due to many hours devoted to keeping up with messages etc. This then has negative effects on relationships, progress at school and overall health and well-being.
Therefore, my advice about this issue and use of mobile phones and this 'WhatsApp' group is as follows:
- If your child is using a mobile phone on a day-to-day basis, remove it at bedtime and return it when it is a suitable time for use. They are used to this as we remove all electrical items on the door when they enter and they are returned when they go home.
- If your child is part of a 'WhatsApp' group then please comply with the law, and remove the app from their phone. Since May 2018, you must be 16 years old to use the app. Therefore using it whilst younger is breaking the law.
- If you do allow your child to use a mobile phone, please consider the fact than as soon as they linked to a Wi-Fi network they can access anything and everything on the internet. Just as my advice would to monitor laptops, and games consoles, it is equally essential to monitor a mobile phone in the same way.
If we can be of assistance supporting you with this matter, please do contact us. Please also contact
me directly if you would like to discuss this matter in greater detail or one of my colleagues.
S D Trimble