BACK TO SCHOOL WEEK. Online Safety

Today I received a link into my inbox to an online newspaper celebrating the fact that children all over the region would be starting their first week back and especially for those who would be starting their first ever week at school. Nothing wrong so far. The article focussed on a family and their young child. it explained the issues for parents and gave some tips for new starters and had comments from the reception teacher. However the article features a photograph of the parents and the young boy  in school uniform. The caption displayed their names and the school to which they were sending their son along with a video of the family. There was also a picture of the son and some classmates at school. The captions identifying the school. There was also a series of pictures showing the pupils enjoying learning in the school on the first day. The newspaper then invited other proud parents to post their first day at school photos on the site by filling in a website form

5.2 The information gathered may be used by XXXX and companies in the same group as XXXX (i.e. companies which share the same ultimate parent company) internally, for purposes relating to your use of the Site and the Interactive Services and for marketing activities, and may be passed to carefully selected third parties to use for marketing activities. By marketing activities, we mean the communication directly to particular individuals (by e-mail, post or telephone) of any advertising or marketing material. If you do not wish to receive marketing material from XXXX, from companies in the same group as XXXXor from carefully selected third parties you should tick the appropriate box on the registration form(s) or notify us by email. If you subsequently decide you no longer wish to receive direct marketing/information from XXXX or companies in the same group as XXXX or no longer wish us to pass your information to third parties you should again notify us by email”.

There was no box that I could see to tick to say do not send marketing material only a box to agree to the terms and conditions.

The site has a gallery where visitors are able to scroll through and see pupils in their uniforms and which schools they go to.

I decided to see how easy it would be to find someone and so I picked a photo at random and did a normal internet search, straight away I found the person (the mother of a new reception child) and then clicked a link to a social media site with her name and found a picture of her son ( the new starter) .

I try not to be paranoid when using the internet as I am a great believer in people using technology. However I question how responsible the Media site is when they can publish this amount of personal data about a child including the name of the school.  Don’t get me wrong it is great for the school to show how well they are looking after the pupils and it is great that parents can “show off” their beloved children to the world. However, I thought we as teachers had a duty of care to protect children from danger? The internet is a dangerous place as educational professionals know so why provide anyone in the world with really high level personal information about your child?

I would welcome comments about this posting. Tell me if you think I am being overprotective. Also share your views on this topic.

I have not identified the Media or the school to avoid advertising further information about children.

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