I am writing to inform you that we have recently become aware of issues in relation to the online safety of pupils concerning the use of Instagram, an app and website available to access or download on smart phones, tablets, laptops and other internet enabled devices.
Instagram is only for use by those aged over 13 so children in a primary school should not be using the app at all. Much like other popular social networking sites and apps the age limit is put in place to protect children's privacy and to prevent them from being targeted with unsuitable advertisements.
The following links may be helpful for you to read to help you make an informed decision regarding your child’s use of Instagram and other similar apps:
It is very important to recognise that if we do just simply ban children from using Instagram or other similar apps and sites etc. then they may carry on using them but without support or correct advice and so will lie about and hide their online behaviour.
There may then be a concern that they will not speak to an adult if something goes wrong as they are afraid of getting into trouble or having their internet access and devices taken away, and this can be more worrying than the underage use of the site in the first place.
If you do choose to allow your child to use any apps or websites then please ensure that you understand how the sites work (and what risks your children may encounter), how to use privacy settings (including disabling location services) and make sure that you and your child know how to block and/or report content. Your child should always be appropriately supervised when using apps and devices, especially those with access to cameras as images and content posted online can be shared quickly.
CEOP provide information which may be helpful to consider when deciding to allow access to Instagram or other sites: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Secondary/What-are-they-doing/Socialising/Under-13s-and-Face/
It is important that we highlight the risks of these sites to both children and families e.g. the age limits and we all work together to give appropriate online safety advice.
e-Safety is an important part of keeping children safe at Fleetdown. e-Safety is taught to all pupils which explains and demonstrates how to stay safe and behave appropriately online but we can only be successful in keeping children safe online if we work with you.
Your help is needed to talk to your children about how they can keep themselves safe and behave appropriately online. It’s important that we are all vigilant when children are using the internet and act to ensure they are protected from people who may pose a risk to them. Children can accidently or deliberately be exposed to illegal, unwanted or unpleasant content, comments or activity online and there are steps you can take at home to minimise this risk.
The Golden Rules for e-Safety at home
Location – IMPORTANT
Consider locating your computers and laptops in a family area where children’s online activity can be monitored or supervised. Always supervise the use of webcams and any applications or devices which allow voice or video chat. Also consider the use and location of other devices your child’s uses which allow internet access such as mobile phones and games consoles. Visit www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/a-parents-guide for safety information about consoles and devices
Websites to visit for more information:
If you are worried that your child is at risk of harm or criminal offence has been committed then you can report your concerns to the Police or Children’s Social Care.
Please do not notify suspicious profiles of your actions, as this could enable them to delete material which might be required for any Police investigations.
You can contact Kent Police via 101 or 999 if there is immediate risk or CEOP by visiting www.ceop.police.uk and using the “Click CEOP” reporting button. You can also contact Kent Children’s Social Services on 03000 41 11 11, or email email@example.com.
Mrs Burton and Mr Catchpole are available to discuss any help you may need or concerns that you may have.
Mrs Burton Mr Catchpole
Designated Safeguarding Leads/ Deputy Headteachers.