The HEAD and chairman of governors of a village school are worried that parents do not understand the dangers children are facing from the internet.
Sue Fulford, head of Rowde Primary, near Devizes, and chairman of governors Jackie Bawden were shocked at what some youngsters revealed to them during an Safer Internet Day at the school.
Mrs Bawden said: “I was very concerned by some of the information that was coming out from the discussions with our pupils. In particular, the large number of children who are accessing social media sites that are not appropriate for their age group and the number of games that the children are playing that allow chatting with others.
“Do these children know who they are talking to? Are they talking to a child or an adult pretending to be a child? We all want children and young people to grow up using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively but most importantly safely.”
She called on parents to help the school make children more aware of the dangers.
She said: “This is particularly pertinent at the moment with pressure on social media companies to be regulated on what is posted on their sites. As a school we can keep on reminding children of how to look after themselves when using the internet but we need parents to help us”
The head teacher agreed and used the school newsletter to remind parents of the risks. She said: “Do you know what your child is viewing on the internet? How safe is your child?”
She also expressed the concern of all the teaching staff about the number of children accessing inappropriate games, images, social media and videos, on platforms such as YouTube.
Pupils were reminded that the minimum age for using WhatsApp was 16 and it was 13 for Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Skype.
As part of the internet safety event PCSO Georgie Dodd visited the school last Tuesday to address parents and to tell them how to keep their children safe and she also spoke to older pupils.
Teacher Kate Dummett, the school’s lead on internet safety, said that during the day there was a lot of discussion with children about which programmes were appropriate to watch on-line and how to stay safe. There was also role play and younger children created posters.
Mrs Dummett said: “Teaching and supporting our children to be safe on line in a vital part of education and 21st century life. Technology has expanded their world in amazingly creative ways but it also poses lots of danger and just as we are responsible for teaching road, water and personal safety we need to teach e-safety as part of everyday life.”