School backs former pupil's warning with social media event

As the Children's Commissioner for England launches a report into the impact of social media on young people, her former school in Yorkshire is working with primaries to help parents understand both the pressures pupils people face and the safeguards which are available.

Undated Handout Photo of Anne Longfield, chief executive of the charity 4children. See PA Feature FAMILY Family Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Graham Turner/The Guardian. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FAMILY Family Column.

Last week Anne Longfield warned that children are being exposed to “significant emotional risk” on social media, particularly as they transition into secondary school.

She issued a stark warning in a report showing that pupils aged 10-12 years old are increasingly anxious about their online image and “keeping up appearances”.

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Prince Henry’s Grammar School, in Otley, is running an online safety evening on January 16 and the event is open to parents from Prince Henry’s and the primary schools in the Otley, Pool and Bramhope Cluster.

During the evening, Prince Henry’s will provide some guidance and tips on how to protect a child when they are accessing online content – from home internet filters, through YouTube and Google, to social media apps and gaming systems’ online groups.

Phil Temple, cluster manager and assistant head at Prince Henry’s, said: “Both our parents and those at local primary schools have been increasingly concerned by this issue and it made sense to run an event where all the parents can attend.

“While any device run through a school based internet service is protected by very strong firewalls, it is use at home where we can find that these protections are not necessarily in place. This is why the event will also give practical advice on what parents can do, both in protecting devices and in talking to their children, as well as exploring the pressures which young people face.”

Anne Longfield, who also attended All Saints Primary School in Otley, visited Prince Henry’s last month, as well as in November, to talk with young people about mental health and to speak at the school’s celebration evening, which recognised the achievements of pupils.