Laura Tupou (Radio NZ)
An Auckland School is taking a stand against social media, asking its students not to have any social media accounts until High School.
Kowhai Intermediate introduced the voluntary code this year where students signed an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) contract which included the commitment to hand in their mobile phones at the gate and not have any social media accounts for the two years they are a student at the School.
Social media had encroached on the School’s teaching and learning in recent years, Board of Trustees Chair Wade Gillooly said.
“We are just taking a proactive stance so that we can nip it in the bud and help our parents make a firm policy decision with their children at home,” he said.
The ICT Contract
The School’s ICT contract said that last year it had “several incidents impact on student relationships and wellbeing at School.”
“These incidents have occurred outside of School hours on private social media accounts over which we have no rights or responsibility. When issues arose over social media, often parents would contact the School to sort it out.
“This is a legal and ethical minefield that would require full, unfettered access to all the social media accounts and devices involved to be fair and just in establishing a true and accurate record of what has occurred.
“The private and anonymous nature of many of these accounts often makes this impossible without legal or police intervention.
“Investigating these incidents also takes many hours or days of staff time, and, it pulls us away from our core job-teaching,” the Contract said.
Mr Gillooly said that social media also increased the likelihood of bullying, sexting, and other “unsavoury” things.
“Children come to School, they are there to learn, it is a really crucial time for them to start engaging with each other. We love the fact that if we can encourage children to have real conversations with each other in the School playground and establish formal friendships and bonds that are personal face-to-face, we think that’s a great step. The voluntary code had been well received by parents,” he said.
The School also noted that there were increasing pressures for children to set up social media accounts even though the legal age was 13.
Laura Tupou is a Reporter at Radio New Zealand. Indian Newslink has published the above Report under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz
Photo by William Iven on Unsplash