'Don't put children's pictures on Facebook': School's warning to parents
PARENTS are being warned not to post holiday snaps of their children on social media sites amid fears the pictures could become "useful" material for paedophiles.
The head teacher at Anlaby Acre Heads Primary School has written to all parents stressing the potential dangers of sites including Facebook and Twitter.
The letter from Rachel Robinson asks parents to "consider the clothes worn" by children in holiday, dance class and swimming gala photos before posting them online because they can be easily shared.
It comes after the East Riding Safeguarding Children Board revealed it is dealing with issues relating to "unsolicited photographing" of minors.
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In the letter, Mrs Robinson warns: "When you are innocently updating your status with the highs and lows of the day you don't always know who is watching."
While the safeguarding board has defended the letter as informative, some parents have said they found it offensive.
One parent who asked not be named, who has a seven-year-old son at the school, said: "I think this is an example of the world gone mad.
"It's up to us what we post on our personal Facebook pages.
"The letter is quite scary and could worry parents unnecessarily but it also talks to parents like they are children."
Another mother, whose five-year- old son attends the school, said: "I found it absurd being told by school what you can and can't post on social media.
"I've got holiday pictures of my kids on Facebook and a lot of my friends have got pictures of their kids on, too. Does it mean we have to take them down?"
The letter also warns parents their own security setting on sites such as Facebook are no substitute for responsible use because there are "whizz-kids" out there who are ICT savvy.
It says: "Help us to keep our children and school safe and happy.
"We would request that parents/carers refrain from posting potentially 'useful' material on social media sites.
"Consider the clothes worn by children in holiday, dance class and swimming gala photos."
Parents have also been requested not to make any comment about the school, staff or pupils on any social media sites.
It follows reports across the region of parents launching "malicious and calculating" attacks on children through Facebook, which are also currently being dealt with by the safeguarding board.
In a statement released to the Mail, Mrs Robinson said: "We take child protection very seriously and we all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our children.
"Ensuring that children are safe and protected on the internet is just as important as teaching them to walk and talk.
"The letter is not telling parents what to do but presenting them with issues to consider when using the internet and social networking sites."
Mrs Robinson insists the school has had many positive comments since the letter was sent out, with parents saying there were issues they had not considered before.
She said: "Facebook can be an enjoyable tool to use but everyone, including parents, has to be aware that it can be potentially dangerous if information or pictures fall into the wrong hands.
"Safeguarding children is everyone's business and ensuring parents are aware of the dangers of social media sites is one way we can all help protect our children."
Bron Sanders, independent chairman of the East Riding Safeguarding Children Board, said: "Parents and carers need to be aware of the dangers of using social networking sites, such as Facebook.
"Parents need to be careful when posting personal pictures of their children as photographs and videos can be very quickly copied, shared and spread at great speed.
"Facebook is a public forum so everyone, not just parents and carers, needs to be aware of what they are saying and posting and the potential effects it could have."
Paul Dyson, chairman of the Hull Safeguarding Children Board, said: "The Hull Safeguarding Children Board website contains some advice and tips for children, parents and professionals and also contains links to other helpful sources of advice, including the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre website."