Cellphone Awareness | Maritzburg College

Cellphone Awareness

Cellphone Awareness

From the Headmaster’s Desk

Dear Parents and Guardians

Since 2015, I have spoken on a number of occasions around issues of internet and cell phone awareness. A number of staff recently attended an IBSC Conference at PBHS where we had a presentation by Emma Sadleir, a leading legal social media educational expert, on the current state of affairs. As you are aware we have also had our own instances at College which I alluded to at the end of last term. It is appropriate for me to highlight a number of pertinent matters on this topic.

Some of the major concerns at schools include Sexting (the social norm amongst teenagers in all schools is rife), Cyberbulllying (leading to teenage suicides), Online predators – TikTok [music videos], Catfishing (a deceptive activity where a person creates a fake identity on a social network account, usually targeting a specific victim for deception), Fortnite – gaming, Twitter – pornography at its worst, SNAPCHAT, WhatsApp, Instagram and Revenge pornography.

It is very important to manage and protect your privacy through your privacy settings on all your accounts. Delete anything that is inappropriate. Don’t joke on social media, and remember that what you are posting can be used against you later when applying for a job. Don’t let photos be taken of you at a  party, being funny, or breaking the law. Don’t be tempted to make comments or criticisms about your school, employer, colleagues or parents. Pupils can be suspended or even expelled, and teachers fired for bringing the school in disrepute.

Remember that children of 14 years and older have full criminal capacity and can be charged, and a child of 13 years and older can be sued.

Delete or untag from anything that is illegal or inappropriate and part of a chain of publication. You need to confront illegal content and disassociate from it. If you don’t you are complicit.

We as a school are responsible for our social media (e.g. school Facebook and Instagram) and can be sued or even charged for anything that is inappropriate.

With regard to WhatsApp groups, remember that everybody in the group is responsible for what is said or posted.

Parents  – you have the right to look at your child’s cell phone. Boarding supervisors at the school are also allowed to check what is on a child’s cell phone provided there is reasonable suspicion.

Laws that are applicable to social media abuse include Defamation of Character, Privacy, Hate speech, Crimen Injuria [infringement of dignity], Sextortion, Image- based violence, Intellectual property [school as trademark; digital content].

We as a school will continue to monitor and manage these issues in our school, and we ask that you as parents, please support us in this process.