Standout Breakout Shoutout

Smartphone Pledge

Dear parents and carers,

You may be aware of the growing number of pupils at Primary School age, who have their own, or access to, a smartphone. In recent years we have seen an enormous increase in the number of issues brought into school as a direct result of the use of mobile phones and messaging apps, such as Snapchat and Whatsapp.  This has had a detrimental effect on the emotional and mental health of many of our children; we have seen a rise in negative behaviours and this of course impacts upon teaching and learning.  Members of staff have seen, and had to deal with incidents which include:

  • Verbal abuse over Whatsapp and Snapchat including extreme swearing, sexualised language and racism

  • Children adding older siblings, friends to groups without others’ consent sometimes resulting in name calling, swearing at the highest level, racism, threatening language, extreme sexual language

  • The sending of innocuous memes to individuals and groups which have been misunderstood

  • Children writing messages and then removing them and denying their existence

  • Children spreading heresay, rumours that are partly true or secrets that have been shared privately on Whatsapp

Some of the above incidents have resulted in:

  • Children not wanting to come to school due to being scared, worried (Emotion based school avoidance)

  • Children sharing with staff that they feel a pressure to respond to messages or be part of a group

  • Children being made fun of because they don’t have a phone, an app or a particular game

  • Children being tempted to bring their phones to school (without permission) or using their phones in school creating safeguarding risks

  • Arguments and fallouts being transferred into school, sometimes resulting in fallouts, confrontations, further cross words and breaking of long standing friendship groups

  • Parents messaging each other and falling out

  • Parents seeking advice on how to sort out phone arguments or fallouts or asking staff to resolve problems

  • Valuable teaching and learning time lost whilst SLT, teachers and support staff address problems from outside school time

  • The involvement of the police and on rare occasions, the involvement of social services

I’m sure you’ll agree that both lists are extremely worrying and indeed shocking.  Incidents of this type are now happening on a weekly basis and the negative implications are on-going.    In Summer 2024, a group of Year 4 parents made a stand to delay purchasing smartphones for their children (or restricting the messaging capabilities of phones) until the end of primary school. This is an example of bold and brave parenting which we believe can make a difference.

Meltham CE Primary School absolutely supports the pledge and all that it stands for.  Honley High School also supports the pledge:

'At Honley High School, we are supportive of this pledge. We are fully committed to supporting the wellbeing and mental health of all children. By working together we can have a positive effect on the lives of children. We have seen the negative effects that social media and access to mobile phones can bring, we therefore embrace the idea of parents and schools working together to help limit the impact of smartphones on our children.

Mrs Liz Lord, Head of School

We hope, alongside parents of other children in your child's year group, that you seriously consider making the pledge. You can find the Year 4 parental pledge and an editable pledge at the foot of this section of our website and the BBC Look North program from May 2024 involving staff and children from our school.

Yours faithfully

Mr. Gibbins and the staff of Meltham E Primary School

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