A headteacher has spoken of the growing problem of the misuse of social media after having to contact police on four separate occasions in just three weeks.
Tim Mitchell, from Norden High School in Rishton, wrote to parents after several incidents at the school involving sexual and racist material, two of which happened in one week.
The incidents could, he said, be ‘at best described as naive’.
He told the Observer: “Our children are putting themselves at risk by posting comments on social networking sites, especially when they don’t use security settings, allowing others to hack into their profiles. We just want to make sure our children are safe.”
In the letter, Mr Mitchell said the sites were blocked on school computers but said most students having mobile phones with internet meant parents were also responsible for monitoring their use. He also said the school would be running another assembly programme detailing the consequences of inappropriate actions.
He said: “I have explained to children you can break the law yourself or be open to exploitation by others. We’ve had to contact police twice in one week which is very unusual.
“I would love to ban mobile phones in school but if you ban something it needs policing. That would mean spending most of the day checking children’s bags and no learning would get done.”
The school rule stated phones were not to be used in school buildings, he said. Pupils abusing that rule have their phones confiscated, and any criminal offences passed to police.
He said: “The majority of problems in schools have origins on social media. People used to have words with each other. Nowadays, words are exchanged, more are written on social media and then families are at war.”
A Lancashire Police spokesman said they had received several reports of concerns regarding social media misuse by students at Norden High School and that officers had spoken to those involved, adding: “We have investigated the claims and the incidents did not warrant formal action. Social media misuse is an increasing issue for officers. We urge care when using social media and for parents to monitor their child’s computer and phone use.”
If you have any concerns visit lancashire.police.uk.