Parent Guidance for Online Safety
Parents should be clearly aware of the school’s policy of access to social networking sites. Where a disclosure of bullying is made, schools now have the duty to investigate and protect, even where the bullying originates outside the school. Parents must also understand that they are responsible for access to technology outside of school, if issues arise parents must review their home security and access to technology.
This can be a complex area, and these examples might help:
- A child is receiving taunts on Instagram, iMessage or SnapChat and texts from an ex pupil who moved three months ago. This is not a school responsibility, though the school might contact the new school to broker a resolution.
- A child is receiving taunts from peers. It is all at weekends using text messages. The pupils are in the school. The school has a duty of care to investigate and work with the families, as they attend the school.
- A child is receiving taunts from peers. It is all at weekends using Instagram. The pupils are in the school. The school has a duty of care to investigate and work with the families, as they attend the school. However, they are also fully within their rights to warn all the parents (including the victim) that they are condoning the use of Instagram outside the terms and conditions of the site and that they are expected to ensure that use of the site stops. Any further referral to the school, the school could legitimately say that the victims and perpetrators had failed to follow the schools recommendation. They could then deal with residual bullying in the school, but refuse to deal with the social networking issues.
- Once disclosure is made, investigation will have to involve the families. This should be dealt with under the school’s adopted anti bullying policy.
- If parent / carers refuse to engage and bullying continues, it can be referred to the police as harassment.
- Parents may decide that the issue must be dealt with by the police and may contact the police prior to the school. We would ask that the parents inform the school as the police may want to interview pupils during the school day.
- This guidance can also apply to text and mobile phone cyber bullying.