Graham Mulhern, speaker with Be Secure Online, an organisation who provide talks and training for schools in Ireland and the UK got in touch with us to raise this important issue.
“Every teacher knows that they are the front-line of the battle against phone and online addiction. Parents feel overwhelmed, unable or refuse to deal with this issue. Teachers and schools are often left to manage this themselves without little direction or resources from the Department of Education.
Here are some pointers from our panel of online safety speakers for primary schools.
Phones and the internet are made to be addictive
Phones, devices and the internet are built to be addictive. Apple, Google, Snapchat, Facebooks first concern is making money, their next job to stop regulation being forced on them, for as long as possible. This puts teachers front and centre in protecting young people.
Schools and teachers must encourage parents to talk to their children and set expectations and rules for their children’s device usage. Most parents are leaving this job to schools. It is time to push back.
How teachers can help:
- Establish levels of phone and / or online usage at home.
- Establish if limits are being discussed, imposed and / or enforced at home.
- Advise parents to prevent older siblings sharing inappropriate content with younger children.
- Recommend a phone-free period for the whole family
- Recommend that parental control is installed on the child’s phone and / or device.
- Advise parent’s that it is okay to look at their child’s devices.
- Warn parents about live-streaming in Apps and potential exposure to extreme content.
- Share the simple guidelines below with parents.
Guidelines for Children Aged 5-7
- No Social Media, Very controlled Gaming, Strict Rules-based usage.
- 60 minutes supervised.
- Switch off WiFi for phone.
- This age-group lack the critical thinking skills to be online alone.
- Youtube – Supervised, Children’s version.
Guidelines for Children Aged 8–10
- 60 minutes supervised.
- Switch on child-friendly search engine.
- All phones should have parental control switched on.
- Set up time limits, content control, etc. on each phone or device.
- Parents should approve all new friend requests.
- Child using a phone or online must be visible to parent. It is not advised that a child is alone.
- Youtube – Supervised, Children’s version”.
For more information about Be Secure Online and the talks and training they provide, please see their website: https://www.besecureonline.co.uk/.