Mobile messaging services: information for parents/carers

The Assistant Head Teacher recently sent out the following letter regarding the use of some mobile applications at home.

Dear Parents/Carers,
I have recently spoken to a large number of children about their use of some of the applications they are using on their mobile phones.  
There have been ongoing problems with children using apps such as WhatsApp and Google Hangout.  Some of the children are in group chats on these applications.  They are in these group chats from the moment they leave school up to when they are in their bedrooms late at night.  
Some of the children I spoke to today informed me that they are receiving messages at very late times of the night, sometimes after midnight!
On a few occasions insults have been part of these chats.  This has led to a number of children coming into school worried and upset.  Some of the children are also tired during their lessons due to the late night nature of the messages they are receiving.
We would like to work together and address these difficulties.  We are asking parents/carers to monitor what apps their children have on their mobile phones and how they are using them.
Please look at messages with your child on a regular basis making sure that your child is not sending insults or receiving them from others.  
Some of the members of the group chats may be people you or your children do not know.   If this is the case please try to ensure that they leave these groups.  
Another tip to prevent children using group chats late at night is to use night time as a time where mobiles are charged in a different room other than their bedroom or turn off WiFi after a certain point in the evening.
I would also like to take this opportunity to emphasis that if you choose to allow your child to bring their mobile phone to school, it is their responsibility to hand it in to their class teacher, who will store it in their class safe at the start of the day and then collect before going home at the end of the day. It is only for the period that their phone is in the care of the class teacher in the safe that we will accept responsibility for it.
If your child’s phone is damaged or stolen when it is in your child’s care (when it is not in the class safe), the school does not accept any liability for it loss or damage.
Thank you for your co-operation in this matter and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further concerns.
Sarah Drummond
Assistant Head teacher: Inclusion

WhatsApp Messenger is a popular instant messaging app, averaging over 800 million monthly users. But did you know the minimum age requirement to use the service is 16 years? You can find a how-to guide on WhatsApp safety for parents here.