Mr Mark Peel, Independent Chair of the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board, has communicated with our school regarding a national concern in the use of mobile phone apps.
There have been reports in the media recently about an e-safety incident involving primary age children from Leeds. To clarify, this incident did not take place in a school or through an ‘app’ approved by a school, but was reported to a school by concerned parents. The incident is now being investigated by West Yorkshire Police.
This incident has highlighted a number of safeguarding issues raised recently about smartphone ‘apps’ including Live.ly, ooVoo, and music.ly amongst others. These apps are supposed to only be able to access contacts on the user’s phones, but it appears that quite quickly unknown individuals are able to join group chats. Therefore, these apps are not safe for children to use as there is a significant risk of inappropriate contact by unknown individuals.
In light of the issue above, we advise parents to ensure that children do not have access to such apps on their phone and to check that all appropriate privacy settings are switched on, to make sure that children are protected when using any internet site.
If a child experiences or expresses concerns about online activity, it must be reported to the police using 101 and https://ceop.police.uk/ceop-reporting/. Wherever possible, a screen shot or a mobile phone picture of the concern should be taken for reporting purposes.
There is some useful information on the LSCB website about online safety with some useful tips for parents here http://www.leedslscb.org.uk/Parents-Carers-Wider-Family/Keeping-children-safe-online
Within our Academy, we ask that any concerns about children's personal E-Safety is also raised with Year Managers, who will rapdily investigate any incidents.