01 821 9331

Sixth Class

24-October-17

Internet Safety

05/02/2019

Dear Parents,

As you may know, today is Safer Internet Day. As teachers at the senior end of the school, it has come to our attention that there has been a recent upsurge in social media related incidents outside of school, that are having a significant and detrimental effect on the wellbeing of the children across all of the classes.

With that in mind, we feel that it is necessary to draw your attention, as parents, to some of the guidance and research that currently exists with regards to children and social media technology.

None of the children in 5th and 6th class are of age to use Instagram, WhatsApp or Snapchat. The age rating for Instagram and Snapchat is 13, while the age rating for WhatsApp is 16. It is no coincidence that these are the apps that seem to be causing the most problems for children across the senior classes.

Whilst these apps are attractive and engaging, their use can open up significant problems and difficulties for children, across a range of areas, from sleeping patterns to social and emotional connections.

Recent research by the Royal Society for Public Health (in the UK) ranked Instagram and Snapchat as the worst apps for young people’s mental health.

http://time.com/4793331/instagram-social-media-mental-health/

https://www.rsph.org.uk/about-us/news/instagram-ranked-worst-for-young-people-s-mental-health.html.

Other reviews and studies have found links between social media use and poor mental health, particularly for young girls.

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-018-5220-4.

A summary of some of the findings of this study can be found on this link https://theconversation.com/mental-health-risks-to-girls-who-spend-more-than-an-hour-a-day-on-social-media-new-study-93406

The American Academy of Pediatrics has also published an informative journal article http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800.full

In light of the above, we would ask that parents take the time to give full consideration to the apps that your children are given access to, at a critical point in their social, emotional and neurological development.

If you are unsure as to whether a particular app, game or film is suitable for your child’s age, you can use the website commonsensemedia.org to check up on it before allowing your child access. Net-aware.org.uk is another website that is very useful in this regard. It is also worth noting that under the new E.U General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Ireland has now set the Digital Age of Consent to 16 years old. This is the age at which children can legally consent to companies/organisations processing their personal/data or information, for example when you sign up to an online platform or social media account. For children under the age of 16, consent must be given by the parent or guardian of the child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a very useful web tool to help you to devise a family media plan, based on the ages and stages of your children and how you wish technology to be accessed within your home.

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx#wizard

As teachers, we will be addressing online safety and related issues as part of the SPHE curriculum and would very much welcome your consideration of the above, so that we can all work together to support the children as they negotiate their way through our rapidly-changing world.

We would appreciate it if you could sign below and return the slip to indicate that you have read this letter.

Many thanks,

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08 2019
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Castleknock Educate Together NS,
Beechpark Ave,
Abbotstown
Dublin 15

01 821 9331

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