Headteacher in Forest of Dean vows to shop parents over pupils web use, including social networking


Paul Woodward is to be applauded. His is a voice in the wilderness.

A primary school head has threatened to shop parents to social services if they allow his pupils to use Facebook and other networking sites.

Paul Woodward is concerned that youngsters who use the sites risk being exposed to porn and online grooming.

He has warned parents that persistently letting children flout Facebook’s 13-plus age rule could warrant investigation by child protection teams.

He estimates that at least 60 per cent of the 270-plus children at his school in the Forest of Dean have access to social networking sites.

Reporting parents to social services is, on the face of it, a bit extreme. However, where the parents have been informed and they take no action then I think he is justified.

Mr Woodward, a branch secretary for the National Association of Head Teachers, the country’s biggest heads’ union, yesterday demanded a ban on children setting up social media accounts – because of the risk of accessing inappropriate material.

Unfortunately a ban would be a waste of time. How on earth could this be policed. The only way to stop the underaged from gaining access is to enforce some kind of  control based round a credit card or some other kind of ID that can be validated on line.I believe that Facebook themselves would not want to do this unless they could actually charge a nominal fee for the  for the privilege.
Of course there will always be the kid that steals, sorry, borrows his parents card to bypass these controls.Just take a look at how six-year-old  Jake Sadler ran up a bill totalling nearly £1,000 while playing a game on his parents’ iPad.
Then there are the parents who are either too stupid to recognise the risks or choose to give in to their kids pestering for a quiet life.
Mr Woodward should also be a tad cautious before tagging parents as persistent offenders.
There are many kids out there who routinely create more than one facebook account. There is the one they keep for parents and family access. Strange that they don’t seem to access this account from one week to the next and they only have a few “friends”. Strange that their mobile is constantly pinging and buzzing as they chat with their “friends”. I have first hand experience of this having stumbled on my granddaughters facebook presence on which she has over 2500 “friends”. This is despite the fact that she has been on the receiving end of the dark side of Facebook and claimed to have ditched her Facebook account. Her public, to the family, Facebook account only has a few hundred “friends”.

Many parents lack awareness of the potential dangers to children from the variety of links and ‘apps’ that can be accessed through Facebook and other sites, he warned.

As soon as his school becomes aware a child has a Facebook account it contacts the company to get the profile blocked.

Now this is an action which I think deserves more support. I wonder how quickly the likes of Facebook are at shutting down these accounts. In the past they have been somewhat reticent.
Many of the comments received for this article on the MailOnline website have derided Woodward’s stance.

This is too far. He is a head teacher and should stick to teaching not snooping. I thought we wanted an end to big government and its snooping or is only when it serves us that we agree with it.

This is not snooping. This is trying to protect our children.
When I was a pupil my parents had an expectation that the school, to which they had entrusted me  for five days of the week, would provide me with the same protection that they did for the rest of the week. Nowadays there is an apparent expectation that teachers are only there to teach the subject matter.

Maybe he should concentrate on teaching rather than parenting! Interesting how DM have two opposing articles written from the same perspective.. Anyway, if he cares about children being exposed to the horrors of Facebook why not do that old-fashioned thing and TEACH about the dangers rather than sit in some sort of arrogant pious judgement of others.

Teach them about the dangers, that’s a laugh. Our schools are doing such a grand job of teaching about the dangers of drugs, getting pregnant and so forth lets put the responsibility on them to teach about the dangers of the Facebook and the internet.
I’m not criticizing the schools. I think they have an impossible task and they don’t get the support of the parents.
No I think that Mr Woodward has the right approach. Keep on shopping the underage kids to Facebook. Keep on warning the parents.
Ultimately it’s the parents responsibility but when they don’t step up to the mark then thank god for people like Paul Woodward.

Headteacher in Forest of Dean vows to shop parents over pupils¿ web use, including social networking | Mail Online.

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