An Auckland school is asking parents to ban their children from social media for the entire two years they are enrolled there.
Kowhai Intermediate, in Kingsland, wants its students to cut out all social media use – even at home – in a bid to fight cyber bullying.
Social media was already “absolutely” prohibited during school hours, but now the school wants the ban extended to home use.
The social media-free stance was outlined in the school’s ‘2018 Bring Your Own Device and ICT Contract’ newsletter, published on its website.
“We believe it would be highly beneficial for our students and indeed families to create and support a social media-free community for students outside of school hours during their two years at Kowhai,” the contract reads.
The decile 6 school also introduced its ‘Off at the Gate’ policy last week, which says all devices must be turned off before students enter school grounds.
Phones are placed in the classroom valuables lock-boxes until the end of the day.
Internet filtering also ensured students were not accessing social media sites from permitted devices, the newsletter said.
The contract said the initiative was in response to an increasing number of social media “incidents” which affected student relationships and wellbeing last year.
“These incidents have occurred outside of school hours on private social media accounts that we have no rights or responsibility for,” the newsletter said.
“When things do go wrong we often find that parents contact the school with the expectation that we can and will sort the problem out.
“This 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 social media accounts often makes this “impossible” without legal or police intervention, it said.
Lapses in judgement
“Investigating these incidents also takes many hours or days of staff time, and, it pulls us away from our core job – teaching.”
Kowhai Intermediate believe banning social media use outside of school hours will promote a “safer school environment” where students can “be themselves” without having to worry about their interactions being discussed online.
The newsletter also says it will reduce the pressure on students to be active on social media and pressure on parents to allow their children to be on these sites.
It would also reduce the risk that “some students will make serious lapses in judgement that may have a severe impact on them for years to come,” it says.
“Adolescence is a challenging time, let us give our children the opportunity to navigate it without the added pressure of social media.”
This post originally appeared on stuff.co.nz. Read the original article.